In this quiet BPRD debut, Mike Mignola and Scott Allie introduce readers to a sullen young lady cursed with pyrokinesis. Moline contrasts Liz’s introverted attitude with a stylish wardrobe and a few moments of subtle humor originating from the expression of her exquisitely crafted face. Moline’s brief rendition of Hellboy fits the model yet meshes to his lanky rounded style. His version of Big Red is less angular but still interesting and valid.
Moline’s signature attention to fingernails actually works better with Dave Stewart’s bright scarlets, and given Liz’s starring role, Stewart’s shades become much more cheerful. He makes Liz a stunning young lady. Her hair shines fire-red and her amber eyes burn with intellect. Fittingly, her wardrobe compliments her features. Unlike the hues Stewart relied upon in Hellboy’s regular title, the colorist imbues health and lightness to Liz’s skin tone. Overall, Liz looks much more vibrant here than she does as an adult.
I don’t think Mignola quite knew what to do with Liz. After she reignited the fire in Roger, the Homunculus, she lay in a coma most of the time. Partnered with Scott Allie, Mignola seems more comfortable with the character. He includes a running joke regarding Liz’s medicine, and he makes her a complete innocent when facing the supernatural.
I also appreciated Liz’s deferment from cigarette smoking. This is a comic book teen girls might pick up if they accidentally fall into a comic book shop. The last thing they need is a role model promoting the easiest way to contract lung cancer.
Bruttenholm also comes alive in these pages, and we get to see the kindly old man behind the genius and enjoy warm moments between he and Hellboy captured in photographs. Hellboy’s designation of Bruttenholm as Liz’s “elderly uncle” is rather sweet and gives him a greater role with the cast of the BPRD.
In terms of plot, Mignola and Allie form the basis around intolerance, religious bigotry and corruption in the church. Same old same old, but instilled with the writers’ convictions and sincerity.