Image © Mike Mignola.
This is the second storyline filling in some background on the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense during the early years of Hellboy’s life with them, when he was still a child, following up on the 1946 collection. The scenes at the early Bureau with young Hellboy and his mentor and father figure Dr. Broom are touching and rather sad. Most of the book takes place in a rural part of France, where a team of new Bureau recruits have been sent to investigate one Baron Konig. They soon find themselves in way over their heads. Writers Mignola and Joshua Dysart do a fine job with the characters and the scary stuff.
I love the art of Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, but on this book it did not work so well for me. The figures were a little too loose and plastic, detracting from the intended horror. Moments that should have been frightening for them at times came across as almost funny because of the odd ways the characters bodies and faces were drawn and distorted. If you think of comics art as a scale between the detailed and accurate realism of someone like Brian Bolland, and the wildly loose and exaggerated cartoons of someone like Sergio Aragones, I would put Bá and Moon a little too close to the cartoony side for horror, at least in this case. I still enjoyed the book, but the art did pull me out of the story fairly often.
Despite that, still recommended.