Dark Horse continue to chronicle Hellboy’s time within the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, with the big red monkey now entering his fourth year with the Bureau. The concept behind this latest one-shot tale is simple, as Hellboy and B.P.R.D. Cryptozoologist, Woodrow Farrier, respond to a report relating to a monstrous creature devouring livestock. What follows this is a fun set of events, with our relatively inexperienced hero going toe to toe with something his own size. This ultimately results in a satisfying ending that leaves a relatively clean slate for the next story.
Mike Mignola is once again joined by Chris Roberson on script duties, with the duo delivering yet another enticing yarn. Despite the brief nature of the narrative preventing this tale from becoming memorable, the duo manage to pack a lot into this small container, with the action and excitement being through the roof. I also love that the duo don’t shy away from racial stereotypes, with the dialogue suiting the time period, whilst at the same time reflecting the negative tone of such views. In doing this, not only do the writers flesh Woody out as a character, but they also build upon his relationship with Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. in the process.
On the visual side of things we have Shawn Martinbrough, with the talent’s bold linework suiting Hellboy and the supernatural world he lives in perfectly. Delivering a stiff, yet engaging set of illustrations, the artist makes it easy to immerse into the narrative, with smooth flowing layouts complementing the fast pace action. The gritty tone of the talent’s pencils also helps to add to the dramatic overtone of this narrative, with the tense facial expressions reflecting this. Rounding all this off is the striking colours of Dave Stewart, with the long time Mignola collaborator bringing a tremendous sense of depth and atmosphere to the final product.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 – Secret Nature is an excellent one-shot tale giving Woody and Red a simple, yet exciting case to investigate. During this the creative team give us some wonderful character development, using the limited page count to its full potential. So if you’re looking to try Hellboy for the first time, or simply give the Right Hand of Doom another go, then this is the perfect time to do so, with there being no need to further invest if it turns out not to be for you.
(8.5 / 10)