Sunday, June 23, 2013
Comic Review: B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs 4
Another volume of B.P.R.D. another part of the world irrevocably altered. Actually two parts this time. Germany and Indonesia…oh, and California. Three parts. A lot is revealed in this final volume of the mega-arc Plague of Frogs. But of course there is more to come. I don’t know what happens next, but considering how bad this arc has been, I have to think one called “Hell on Earth” is going to get dark before it gets light…if it ever gets light.
So, this time around, the team is trying to figure out what’s going on with that dream/ghost Liz keeps seeing. And like me, they’re trying to figure out why Lobster Johnson would hijack Johann’s ectoplasm and shoot it. On the trail of this Memnan Saa, they also begin to unravel the secret of a sad and unloved occultist from the 1800s who orbited in the same social circles as the team’s new mummy member, Panya. The quest takes them to Asia, where a member of the team is snatched. Then to German, where they discover that the Frog threat isn’t as contained as believed and that it has become much more complicated. And then to the frozen wastes of the Russian-Chinese border. There is a return of an old enemy and that of an old friend…sort of. And though I hardly think his tale is done, there is a kind of peace found for the Lobster.
Abe and Liz go through absolute hell over the course of the volume. Like Hellboy, Abe has never been comfortable with command, and it is weighing very heavily on him. Both learn a great deal about themselves, and their place in the cosmic play that is unfolding. These beings (heroes and villains) seem to be like gravity wells, attracted to each other and causing all sorts of damage as they pass, and massive destruction when the collide. Even with the best intentions, Liz is a tremendously catastrophic force. And if Abe found himself uncomfortable with command before, what fate seems to have in store for him will not be improving his outlook. With Hellboy out of the picture, these two are coming into their own, and it may just spell the end of the world. And through it all, there’s Kate. Good, sane, steady Kate. With all the flash and noise of these weird people it’s easy not to notice Kate, but without her, everything would be falling apart (not just lots of things but everything).
Though this volume ends a story arc, it is not the end of the story. And in a way, the Plague of Frogs is all just setting the stage for what comes next. And by the end of this volume, you’ll have seen a few glimpses into what that may be. And it’s not good. Things have changed for our heroes. Their lives are in constant upheaval, their losses profound and their gains sometimes fleeting. But they press on, battling against the tidal waves of cosmic horror. B.P.R.D. is a great series that takes its emotional cue from Lovecraft. These brave men and women are not fighting for good or justice. They may not even be fighting to win. They’re doing everything they can to stop an unstoppable force, to delay it, to give the Earth just one more day of light. The wave is coming. And the only thing between us and the end is a team of weirdos who may themselves be the keys to our ultimate destruction.
B.P.R.D. Plague of Frogs 4
Authors: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artists: Guy Davis & Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Books