Mike Mignola presents a one-shot Hellboy tale set in the prime of Hellboy’s career with the B.P.R.D.. While the story reveals little new about that time in his life it is still a pleasure to read. Written by Mike Mignola, who also contributes the cover, the story is illustrated by Matt Smith, who is accompanied by Dave Stewart in the coloring duties.
Big Red on the case
A demon fighting monsters. That’s all you need to do to get me on board. You just gotta promise me monsters and “Long Night at Goloski Station” does deliver on the monster front. It finds Hellboy during his time at the B.P.R.D. in 1967 Russia.
But how is the Book?
Visually, “Long Night at Goloski Station” is a delight. It features the hallmarks of traditional, Mignola-illustrated Hellboy, but with a little more depth of form. With Mignola’s art there is usually a bit of “flatness” as the artwork emphasizes Mignola’s strong shape work. The artist of this story, Matt Smith, does an excellent job of taking the Hellboy-aesthetics and rounding them out, making the world and characters a bit more visually three-dimensional. Unfortunately, the book loses some of its polish when it comes time for Hellboy to fight. The art is still strong and there is decent motion from panel to panel, but the sense of space and environment falls away, swapping backgrounds for toned and textured backdrops. Essentially, Hellboy just ends up fighting in a void.
The writing is solid, as one would expect from Mike Mignola taking Hellboy back to his roots, as it were. The tale isn’t complicated, though; Hellboy is set to meet a contact, that contract turns out to be a dead end, so Hellboy spends his time with a Russian hunter. Throw in a trio of ne’er do wells including a warlock and two toughs during an overnight stay at a train station and you can see where all this is going.
Predictability isn’t a problem, though. This story is just very comforting in that it is a known quantity. It doesn’t reveal anything particularly new, instead positioning itself among a couple other points of continuity, such as Hellboy’s fight where he blinded the Baba Yaga. It’s just kind of one of those stock cases Hellboy encountered as a B.P.R.D. agent.
All told, “Long Night at Goloski Station” is a fine Hellboy story. But the emphasis here being fine. It is not going to stand out as the most iconic of his B.P.R.D. adventures. It’s not a bad little short, and it feels like something that would fit in an odds and ends volume, like the Strange Places collection.
While Hellboy’s timeline has and will continue to march ever forward, small stories like this prove fun but not particularly vital to understanding the world and characters.(4 / 5)
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