From the moment this issue opens the most evident thing to me was the amount of detail in the art. This issue is gorgeously illustrated by James Harren and features very complimentary colors by Dave Stewart. Harren captures the grittiness of the B.P.R.D. and HELLBOY titles, but his art style is very different from Mignola's. Mignola, who wrote the issue with the help of Scott Allie, is definitely a minimalist. Harren, on the other hand, loves detail and his pencils are a lot more intricate than Mignola's.
The story is centered on some of the lesser-known B.P.R.D. characters (you may not see Abe Sapien here), but the good thing is that regardless of your familiarity with these characters and some of the many concepts in this issue, it is still a fun read.
The story is set up in an interesting way and Mignola plays around a bit with travel from the present and into another time and place. The cool thing about it though is that it all happens very suddenly. Even though Mignola springs this onto readers, it doesn't feel jarring or out of place. Instead it simply flows into this very different story set in another time. It's a really interesting way to depict these characters and this story and I, personally, found it to be very entertaining.
As good as the B.P.R.D. stories are, they are sometimes a little bit difficult to follow if you are a new reader. This issue is the first of two out of a total of 102 issues, and even though readers are given a very brief synopsis of the story so far in the beginning, it's still not the easiest book to follow. Although the details of the story may be lost to some, it's safe to say that the synopsis at the start of the issue covers the two most important bits of information readers need to know: Liz Sherman is missing, and Abe Sapien is close to his death.
I really enjoyed this issue. It's a great one-shot for readers who haven't been following or aren't invested because, although there is a lot of backstory, you don't necessarily have to know all of it in order to follow along. Mignola has mastered the ability to contain his story into a single, or a couple of issues and that's exactly what he does here. In the end we have an awesome horror/fantasty comic that features some absolutely stunning illustrations. It is an issue that has the potential to appeal to both long-time fans and new readers alike, and if you like HELLBOY, chances are you will enjoy this.