The ending of BPRD: The Devil You Know was largely the conclusion of decades of storytelling, leading to many prequel-style tales in the realm of Hellboy; but now Frankenstein: New World has arrived, kickstarting what very well could be the next two decades of stories. Picking up hundreds (maybe even thousands) of years after the end of The Devil You Know, Frankenstein: New World begins with the surviving humans inside the Hollow Earth, having escaped there with the aid of the titular monster while Hellboy and his pals defeated Rasputin. Though Frankenstein himself is the lead, he's flanked by a plucky young girl, Lilaj, a newcomer to the franchise and a character well worth having in a world overrun by gods and monsters.
While Frankenstein maintains his stoic composure throughout, and the dry bits of humor that are integral to any good Mignola lead character do come through, he works best in this issue because he has a chaotic child by his side. Mignola wrote the story for the issue alongside regular collaborators Christopher Golden and Thomas Sniegoski – a three man team is a rare site in the writing credit alone in a Hellboy comic but no part of this feels overstuffed or like the number of cooks in the kitchen had a negative impact on what's occurring. If anything the strengths of all three writers have been brought in to great effect, giving readers a tight story with fun characters both new and old.
Artist Peter Bergting steps in to pencil the comic, making his Hellboy series debut after cutting his teeth with Mignola and Golden's Outerverse series of comics. Bergting is given a lot of area to play with here, depicting the world of the Hollow Earth, Frankenstein's evolution, the return of some other key characters, and then the larger surface world that has evolved into all-new ecosystems (ones that have a root in what fans know is lurking in this world to boot). Colorist Michelle Madsen returns to the franchise as well, bringing the spark of life to the images that really help cement this story in the larger timeline of Hellboy.
To that end, the artwork throughout Frankenstein: New World #1 feels safe. There's only a bit of action, which isn't a bad thing, but this debut issue is about getting readers settled into the world. Bergting's art is great throughout, but it does feel like something is missing as there's almost too much detail. Seeing the big picture is nice considering the circumstances of the series, but shadows are equally as important in this universe. The status quo of the "New World" is naturally something that will require some getting used to, and rather then leaping into the deep end it takes its time wading through the shallows. Though it'll seem that way for the newcomers, and for the best as they realize there's a vast mythology here, those that have been knee-deep in the stories of Hellboy and the BPRD will see all the signs of where this is headed and how exciting it is to see.
Frankenstein: New World is proof that the world of Hellboy doesn't always need the big red guy and that these stories can continue in perpetuity. The series manages to do this by digging deep into the lore of the B.P.R.D. to give longtime readers a rich and rewarding experience, and then threading the needle of its narrative well enough that anyone could pick up this new series and follow along. There aren't many misses in the pantheon of Hellboy comics, but Frankenstein: New World seems poised to become the best story since B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know concluded.
Published by Dark Horse Comics
On August 3, 2022
Written by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Thomas Sniegoski
Art by Peter Bergting
Colors by Michelle Madsen
Letters by Clem Robins
Cover by Peter Bergting