Review: "Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: the Beast of Vargu One-Shot"
“Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu”, written by Mike Mignola, with artwork by Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart, Letters by Clem Robins, and cover by Duncan Fegredo.
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. recently finished what I consider to be its best arc yet in “1956”, and while I was not necessarily expecting this single issue and its upcoming follow-up “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Saturn Returns” to actually add to this specific narrative, I was still very much so in the mindset that this issue would, despite me knowing the creative team ahead of time, be firmly grounded in that series’ look and feel. In retrospect this was quite dense of me, as I was greeted by a blast from the past nostalgia trip of Fegredo’s latter third of Hellboy.
Without getting into spoiler territory, this issue falls under my newfound favorite micro-genre of Hellboy stories where Mignola formats the story to read and feel like traditional folklore, in this case Romanian. It reminds me in its entirety of last year’s “Koschei the Deathless,” which is no surprise considering that was one of my favorite books of the year. I will talk about some of my favorite narrative elements in a spoiler review post release, but the way this book plays with narrative feels entirely fresh and original, even for a franchise which is used to playing with narrative in this way already. In a sort of sense, this issue makes me want to sit around a campfire and listen to stories, which is honestly one of the highest praises I can give a book coming from me.
Fegredo gets a chance this issue to really play around with facial expressions, one of which is probably my new favorite Hellboy facial expression of all time (I can’t show it to you, you’ll just have to take my word on it.) Mignola has given this man a play yard with so much to work with, you can tell he is having a blast in this issue. While it is only a single issue installment, it is a concentrated dose: Fegredo’s style pops, grabs, and kills just like it does in “The Wild Hunt,” which brought me back to a forgotten happiness I had a long time ago reading those books. While I’m sure this will leave some fans simply wanting more Fegredo, this single issue packed in so much that I feel somewhat satisfied for the time being. Of course… if we get more soon I certainly will not complain *makes puppy face*. It would be remiss of me not to also mention the use of color in part of both Stewart and Robins. In particular, this issue’s use of blood stands out in a creative way, and without giving anything away, this issue’s play on time simply would not have the same functional effect without Stewart’s coloring. Robins’ use of color in his speech bubbles aids in this as well, and as per standard his lettering is both invisible but distinctly his work (essentially the ideal end goal for any letterer), the guy is fantastic at what he does.
“Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu” releases on shelves June 19th. Remember to pick up your issue from your local comic shop!
Official Solicitation: “Mike Mignola and fan-favorite artist Duncan Fegredo reunite in this all-new one-shot!
This first issue in a new era of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. sees Mignola and Fegredo send Hellboy to Romania for a pair of tales set in a small village with a centuries-old curse and a man-eating monster which culminate in a sinister puppet show and a demigod's ill-fated dinner.”- Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mike Mignola Artist: Duncan Fegredo Colors: Dave Stewart Letters: Clem Robins
Release: June 19th, 2019