In Review: Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1954–Ghost Moon #2

When Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. get together one is never disappointed. Recommended.

The cover: Hellboy releases a puff from his cigarette as he raises his fist to do battle. Behind him is the image of a crane, a ghostly pale man wearing glasses who has a hand open to the heavens, and a hunping that’s emiting green energy that represents the supernatural. Great collection of images from Mike Huddleston that tease things to come in this issue without spoiling any part of the story. This is what all covers should hope to contain. Overall grade: A

The story: The protagonists were split up last issue with all involved in dangers concocted by Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson. Things start with Archie about to receive the wrong end of Chinese hook sword. Hellboy is able to intervene in the nick of time, allowing the two a moment of grace before the two supernatural entities again attack, with one of the creatures stating, “You interfere in matters beyond your ken.” Meanwhile, Susan Xiang has rescued a man that bears a tattoo that her great-uncle bore. When she was younger he would regale her with tales of the Golden Crane order, protectors of the middle kingdom. She reveals that something happened to her when she was seven that had her start to believe his tales, which has the rescued man respond, “I understand. It can be difficult, accepting the truth.” And as all this is occurring, Roland Childe is confronting Thomas, who is revealed to be in possession of the hunping and is siphoning off the spiritual energy within it, as well as the innocent refugees in the neighborhood. “The power I’ll possess will soon be incalculable.” The scene moves outside the building, refocusing on Hellboy and Archie. As Hellboy again saves his friend, the entities abandon the pair, turning their attention to the building, proclaiming, “Return them!” and “Return them at once!” There’s obviously something going on with these creatures that the B.P.R.D. agents don’t understand. It’s impressive storytelling to have three stories occur simultaneously and to maintain such a rapid pace of action. Backstory is told through Susan and her new friend, and there’s a lot of it, but the reader will race through this tale to find out how the agents can stop Thomas’s evil. Pages  12 and 13 nicely show the horror that is about to unleashed upon the world, and how it’s stopped on 15 is great. I was glad to see the entities restore balance to the proceedings on 16, and I was shocked by the actions on 17. After such traumatic events, there’s terrific tension releasing banter on 18. There’s a sweet taste of foreshadowing on 19, with no explanation given, with the final page showing that there are two new threats that will have the B.P.R.D. joining forces soon again with the S.I.D. Outstanding reading. Overall grade: A 

The art: I am loving the artwork on this book by Brian Churilla. The first panel has an epic introduction to the action with Archie raising one arm futilely to ward off the impending blow from the supernatural bull. The background is suggested rather than full rendered to direct the reader’s eyes upon the character’s certain doom. The save by Hellboy in the second panel is spectacular with one arm wrapped around the creature as they go flying from a body shot. Hellboy looks resolute and the speed lines behind the pair are awesome. Susan’s background story on 2 is incredibly looking, with that crane overlay atop her face spectacular. The spirits that surround Childe and Thomas are frightening, with their toothy maws looking as if they could tear apart either character at any moment. The flashback tale on 5 is as beautiful as the one from Page 2, which uses the same superimposed crane on an individual’s face. Magic’s power is clearly shown on 10, used for defense and offense. The partial double-paged spread on 12 and 13 is a horror show for Susan that shows the possible fate of several souls. One of best images of the book is the final panel on 14, which shows a object looking incredibly small and fragile, but undeniably powerful. The action on 17 was shocking, and the final two panels on 19 laugh out loud funny when accompanied by the dialogue. The reaction in the third panel on the following page has me desperate to know what was said, but that’s a reveal for a later story. Churilla must return to the B.P.R.D. soon. Overall grade: A

The colors: Colors are key to creating the many tones of this book. The first page contains bright reds and oranges to create a frantic environment, the second page uses dull yellows to create a flashback, while the third page employs sickly blues for the otherworldly spirits that surround the characters. These colors help the reader react to what he or she is seeing. An absence of colors in the final panel on 14 draw attention to an object and gives the reader pause, allowing the object — whose fate will decide the world’s future — to fall almost in slow motion. When the threat has passed, Dave Stewart is still manipulating colors to influence the reader: take a gander at the characters in the first four panels on 19 — they are outlined in a lighter color than the background to make them stand out against the dark skies. This allows their words to become stronger as they are visually apart from the setting. Pages 20 and 21 are glaringly bright, much like film footage from this time period, and allowing Hellboy to explode off the pages. Overall grade: A  

The letters: Dialogue, groans, sounds, yells, an indecipherable death rattle are created by Clem Robins. The sounds on this book are sensational, with every punch and gunshot exploding off the page. It’s that death rattle, though, that really catches one’s eye: when first encountered, I really focused on these final words, wondering if there was something hidden there. Darn you, Robins, for sucking me in so! Overall grade: A

“Who the Hell Is Lady Cynthia?”: This is a two page “very brief history” by Matt Strackbein that has a Hellboy fan whisked off by Lady Cynthia Eden-Jones to assist her at East Bromwich. This is a clever, and funny, way to bring new readers up to speed with this character. The art is humorous and the dialogue comical as the fan goes into territory that shouldn’t be entered. Could this foreshadow more appearances by Lady Cynthia? Overall grade: A-

The final line: An outstanding conclusion to a Hong Kong caper that rights several wrongs and introduces future problems. When Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. get together one is never disappointed. Recommended. Overall grade: A 

To purchase a print copy go to http://www.tfaw.com/Comics/Profile/Hellboy-and-the-B.P.R.D.-1954—Ghost-Moon-2___533900?utm_source=darkhorse&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=darkhorse_buy&utm_term=buy+Hellboy+and+the+B.P.R.D.%3A+1954–Ghost+Moon+%232 

To purchase a digital copy go to https://digital.darkhorse.com/books/a3eb9053d2a24b898bda9f8273a34cc2/hellboy-and-the-bprd-1954-ghost-moon-2

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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