From legendary Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and writer Rob Williams, along with artist Laurence Campbell, tell the story of a deadly McGuffin in The sword of Hyperborea # 1. With colors from Quinton Winter and letters from Clem Robins, this opening issue is more of a story than a comic book. Despite being held up in the air by stellar works of art, this issue has little to offer to anyone who isn’t an absolute diehard. Hellboy fan who must know everything.
“From ancient warrior Gall Dennar to Sir Edward Gray to Agent Howards of the BPRD, the iconic Hyperborean sword of the world of Hellboy has fallen into many influential hands. And it is not a hazard. Trace the path of the sword through the adventures and encounters that ultimately brought her to Ragna Rok, at the end of the world, and witness the sword’s journey through history.
Writing and plot
Mike Mignola and Rob Williams try to fill in some of the gaps around Agent Howards’ badass weapon in The sword of Hyperborea # 1. Certainly since its first appearance in the pages of BPRD, he was an object shrouded in a seductive mystery. Like many recent Hellboy next universe comics BPRD: the devil you know, Mignola & Co. set out to answer this mystery. Sadly, despite this comic book’s intriguing premise, this first issue comes across as scattered. We are presented with slices that we have seen in earlier stories, such as Gall Dennar in prehistoric times leading his tribe. This issue fills that a bit more, which is admittedly quite satisfying for a longtime fan of this universe to see. However, the rest of this chapter ends up feeling too vague.
There are clearly significant parallel time drifts here, and plenty of mad wizards and giant monsters to contend with. Despite all the ingredients for a good Hellboy / BPRD story, this comic just feels like throwing scenes at the reader without reiterating why they’re important. It’s sort of the problem of making a story around an element. The balance between characterizing and just pushing the plot forward for more story can be difficult to maintain. There is definitely some material here for the diehard to love. Hellboy fans, but that doesn’t stop the script from feeling bland and headstrong.
You can almost always count on a Hellboy comic universe to have a fantastic visual work, and Laurence Campbell continues this tradition The sword of Hyperborea # 1. Campbell’s thick inks pay homage to Mignola’s signature style while keeping its unique touch intact. Each character and each surface is detailed in such a way that the scenes appear almost in three dimensions. The art has a digital feel to it, but Quinton Winter’s inks and colors give it a grainy feel. These colors are rich and complete the dark and disturbing feeling of a Hellboy spectacularly well comedic. Clem Robins lettering is classic, very competent Hellboy comic fare. It retains the same style of lettering that has been used in all the comics in this universe, and it brings back that reading experience perfectly.
In all fairness, this is perhaps one of the prettiest Hellboy comics of the universe that I have read.
The sword of Hyperborea # 1 is a gorgeous comic with an sadly underwhelming storyline. Mignola and Rob Williams make some interesting moves as they explore more of the sword’s past. Unfortunately, it still seems scattered and too vague to be considered a single satisfactory problem. Visuals from Laurence Campbell and Quinton Winter save the comic book with detailed and atmospheric visuals. From an artistic point of view, it is a high level Hellboy entrance to the universe. If you are a die-hard fan of this universe, be sure to grab this number when it becomes available on 1/12!