In Review: Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: The Long Night at Goloski Station

Simmering evil explodes violently in this one-shot set in Russia, 1967.

The cover: On a dark gray background, Hellboy towers overs a small building whose open door reveals a figure against a harsh orange internal light. To the hero’s left are two men with glowing orange eyes. A bat flies behind this ominous pair. Beneath the house is the severed head of a wolf and three round silver items with a sun-like scrawl on each. A white streak lies beneath the house and a similar colored trail of smoke exits the top of the building and swirls behind Hellboy. Excellent cover from Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart that showcases some major elements from this issue. Overall grade: A

The story: This is a perfect story crafted by Mike Mignola. At the Goloski Train Station somewhere in Russia in 1967, Hellboy leaves the train and approaches the snow covered structure. A lone man sits outside on a bench, a rifle in his lap and a bag at his side. Hellboy asks if he’s Professor Onchukov and the man, Yad Tovich, tells the hero he was a fool to come. In the bag is the head of Onchukov. “That’s gonna be a problem,” Hellboy says. Tovich pulls the head out and it’s that of a large wolf. “It’s been an hour. He should look human again by now. Oh well, Sometimes it’s different,” the man says. The professor was going to kill Hellboy and Tovich hunts werewolves. He asks if Hellboy shot out Baba Yaga’s eye. “You should have killed her.” The two continue to talk with the tension between them lessened so much that the hero lights up a smoke. Just as two are comfortable, a trio arrives. The smaller of the three speaks and Hellboy and Tovich are instantly on alert. A trio of items get a backstory before they are given to Hellboy and then things take a turn. The action in both locations is outstanding, with plenty of thrills, some great twisted, suggestive dialogue, a fantastic conclusion, and an awesome epilogue at B.P.R.D. headquarters. And Edward Grey comes up! If the issue had been Hellboy and Tovich sitting the entire issue and just talking I would have been happy. Their conversation is fantastic. This was wonderful. Overall grade: A+

The art: Matt Smith does a outstanding job on this issue. The key to a Hellboy and B.P.R.D. visuals is the ability to create the fantastic in a real environment. Smith does so exceedingly well. The opening image is dramatic with the train coming to a stop. The first image of the station is at the bottom of the same page and it is tiny, rustic, and covered in snow. By having Tovich in silhouette increases the suspense. The top of the next page clearly shows the man, and that rifle on his lap increases the tension. The tight close-up on Hellboy where he states there’s going to be a problem has him looking ominous. The reveal of the wolf head changes the tone on how Tovich is to be interpreted by the reader, especially with how he handles the grisly item. The Baba Yaga flashbacks are great. I love the second panel on Page 4. The reveal in the fourth panel on 7 is neat and Hellboy’s action in the sixth is so cool. The arrival of the characters on the next page is sinister with their appearing with a fog. I love the wide eyes on one of the characters and how his head just doesn’t sit quite right on his neck. Though only three panels, the flashback atop 9 is great, spooky and funny. I love how the pair of protagonists simply sit and talk for the next two pages, making the possible danger seem inconsequential. The appearance in the third panel on 11 made me long to see more of this individual. The action begins on 12 and it’s epic from the get-go. I love how the protagonists separate with each fighting foes in very different manners. Hellboy has got the much more physical actions, but don’t sell Tovich short — what he’s dealing with is just intense. Hellboy’s actions on 16 are awesome and Tovich’s actions that follow are heartbreaking with just a powerful, deep stare from him. I loved the final visual of Hellboy, with his action making commentary about this adventure. The final page shows four characters discussing what’s occurred, and they have the distinct look of academia. This book’s art is top notch. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Russia in a constant state of dusk in the winter doesn’t seem to leave many opportunities for colorist Dave Stewart on this issue, but you’d be wrong. Hellboy’s red skin has him as an eye catcher every time he appears. Oranges for light and eyes creates a threatening tone each time they appear. The browns used for the third panel on 11 age the artwork appropriately. When the action kicks in the backgrounds go a harsh orange outside, increasing the fighting immensely. Within the station there’s very little light, making the conversation and actions there intense due to the sparse colors. The pink and blue at the top of 19 give a supernatural flare to what’s occurring. The second panel on 20 is beautifully horrific in oranges and reds. The last panel on 21 has the tone of the story change not only due to the art, but the colors outside the window, reassuring the reader that all is well. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Sounds, dialogue, scene settings and an editorial note, and yells are crafted by Clem Robins. All texts are easy to read, with the dialogue and yells differed by their size and thickness, placing the perfect stress in characters’ outbursts. The sounds are excellent. Many of them should be read aloud to increase the fun of the tale; Page 18 has several. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Simmering evil explodes violently in this one-shot set in Russia, 1967. Everything about this book is perfect. The story is incredible, be it with the conversation or the battle against the unholy. The art is killer, with silent looks from characters increasing the tension or revealing aspects of the individuals. The colors up every element of the art and the letters allow sounds to explode off the page. This is the book you give friends to hook them on Hellboy. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

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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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