Script: Mike Mignola & Rob Williams
Art: Laurence Campbell
Colours: Quinton Winter
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover Art: Laurence Campbell with Dave Stewart
Variant Cover Art: Christopher Mitten

Warriors across time have held the mighty sword of Hyperborea from ancient times to modern times. Across each issue, we will expect to see how this sword has been used by many a warrior and how it has played a role in defining conflicts. This review will focus on the first issue.

Issue #1 shows us how the sword was used by B.P.R.D. Agent Howard in a dramatic battle but also the role of the sword and how it connects him to other warriors. In his quest, you see a world it seems only he and other individuals who have held this sword can engage. What he might discover may not be what he wishes to find.

Now, before I continue, as a reviewer I stumble across my first challenge with this issue and successive issues as well. I love Hellboy. I LOVE B.P.R.D. I have read a good chunk of Hellboy but I have read a much larger quantity of the B.P.R.D. trades. I do think I might be a couple of years behind trade-wise but reading this issue made sense to me because I have already read so much from this universe. What Mike Mignola does well is create a universe that can be appreciated through not simply core characters such as Hellboy, Abe Sapien or the members of B.P.R.D. but with many writers built up lore. His stories are also built on the shoulders of giants such as the character Lobster Johnson who even had his own pulp fiction novel produced (It’s called The Satan Factory, check it out if you can).

Why am I telling you all this?

Because this issue (and the remaining issues) benefit from having a better knowledge of the universe. You could probably get by understanding the basics of the issue. Heck the introductory page explains the sword. However, I just can imagine readers who have never read other trades just looking at this in isolation and thinking… why?

In reference to the Hellboy universe being built on other ideas. The first issue of The Sword of Hyperborea clearly takes from stories like the Conan tales, A lone man travelling across lands battling creatures along the way. It makes this point succinctly before what seems to be a cliff-hanger ending. The art is as per usual beautiful. The scenes around the large fire (no spoilers) really bring out beautiful colours

So my conclusion? If you want some Conan-esque fun and have never read any of the Hellboy universe, this issue will suit you, and if you’re an avid reader of the Hellboy universe? This works there too. To be honest, you don’t need to be too up to date as even I haven’t returned to this universe in a while and it made sense to me. The group I think who would struggle here are people who just haven’t read any B.P.R.D. and wondering if this is a jumping on point. My inner chronology nerd says start with Hellboy or B.P.R.D. but the truth is, start anywhere, start here but just realise there will be characters who might not mean much to you and that you might come to understand better as you delve further into this universe.

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