Image © Mike Mignola.
While the main series featuring the government agency The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is dealing with Hell on Earth in the present, this series is looking back at the youth of Hellboy and those around him. It’s a charming yet creepy look at the early years of the boy from Hell and his mentor (and protector) Professor Bruttenholm.
Atomic bomb tests are being done in the desert of the American southwest at the dawn of the atomic age, and somehow monsters are emerging from the test site and wreaking havoc. Are the bombs creating a rift in space-time to another dimension, or is it something else inherent in the artifacts of the explosions? Professor Bruttenholm investigates, bringing Hellboy and agent Anders along. Anders was involved in a recent deadly mission that left him possessed by evil powers, so he’s another wild card.
One of the test site scientists is the brilliant and beautiful Dr. Anna Rieu, who may have some ideas about those monsters. Agent Anders just wants to fight them, providing the action-filled sections of the book. Young Hellboy is almost a sideline character in this collection, but with a few important moments. The writing by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi kept me turning the pages, and the art by Max Fiumara, while a little too distorted in places, fits in well with the menacing, shadowy atmosphere of the Mignola franchise.