REVIEW: ‘Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu,’ One Shot

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu

Monsters don’t fight other monsters very often. Usually, we see people fighting monsters and sometimes even win. But monsters seem to generally leave each alone. However, when they do come to blows, it’s the stuff of legends with savage battles fought with tooth, claw, and tail. Dark Horse Comics’ latest monster-riffic one shot, Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu, which is written by Mike Mignola, illustrated by Duncan Fegredo, with colors by Dave Stewart, and letters by Clem Robins, shows what a monster fight ought to be as well as it explores Roma folklore.

Set during the 1960s, this one shot takes the world’s greatest paranormal investigator to the haunted mountains of Romania. Deep in the Carpathians, rumors have it that a winged beast preys upon the innocent. Tales of the creature goes back centuries but recently people have started going missing around old Castle Vargu. It is not a lot to go on, but enough to get the attention of the B.P.R.D.  who are dispatched to investigate the claims. Hellboy finds that more lies beneath Vargu’s grounds than the legends say. Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu

One of the Hellboy franchise’s greatest strengths lies in how badly it roughs up its demonic lead. Hellboy always gives as good as he gets, but no scuffle ever lets the red guy get by without a scratch. Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu delivers the goods, providing a kinetic battleground for its monstrous combatants. Flipping through one of Duncan Fegredo’s brutal clashes will bring a smile to any monster lover.

But of course, there’s more to Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu than just fighting. Mignola draws from regional folklore to fuel this beast. Professor Bruttenholm provides the dossier on the issue’s eponymous boogeyman, but that’s not how we actually get to know our monster. Instead, latter portions of Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu appear as stylized puppet shows. Without giving spoilers, these scenes bring folklore to the forefront in a creative way.

Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu

Of course, the book’s love of fisticuffs and fairytales come with a cost. As a one shot with a limited cast, the comic has little in terms of character development. And it can’t be denied that Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu’s core story arc, where Hellboy investigates a local legend only to find a very real monster, is an expected story arc within the Hellboy franchise. But that’s part in parcel to Hellboy’s pulpy charms. Hellboy fights monsters the same way that private eyes investigate crimes. It’s just a  hazard of the job and this pulpy comic shows off those hazards in loving detail.

Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu adds another exciting adventure to the world of Hellboy. While it walks in a well-worn trail, this comic delivers the imaginative monster clashes the Hellboy franchise is known for. And like the best stories in the franchise, it offers readers a fresh take on classic folklore. If you’re craving monster satisfaction, Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu has the action.

Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu is available now wherever comic books are sold.

 

Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu
4.5

TL;DR

Hellboy and The B.P.R.D.: The Beast of Vargu adds another exciting adventure to the world of Hellboy. While it walks in a well-worn trail, this comic delivers the imaginative monster clashes the Hellboy franchise is known for.