Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Comic Reviews: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth 1, 2, & 3

New World

    The Plague of Frogs is over…Right?  Everything must be OK, then.  Everything should be getting back to normal, huh?  Of course not.  The Frogs were the beginning, but there’s a whole heck of a lot more trouble on its way.  It is, as the title suggests, a new world.  Humans are adaptable, and they’re gonna have to do some serious adapting.

    This volume sees the return of some old friends, and hints at new dangers on the horizon.  The B.P.R.D. team, now having to deal with being folded into the UN, is still haunted by the loss of Hellboy from their ranks.  Without his spirit at their head, they’ve never quite worked as well.  Abe has become sullen, Liz has wandered off again, Kate is stretched to her limit, Johann is more and more secretive and weird.  The cracks in the team are like the cracks in reality, letting vile darkness creep into the world.

Gods and Monsters

    Monsters are crawling out of the ground, people are loosing their minds, and out of Texas comes a profit, leading the lost and displaced away from danger.  What’s her deal?  Well, someone seems to know, and we get a history lesson in pre-human civilization, and hints of what is to come.  And then there’s Liz’s adventures in trailer park living.  Bad, bad business.

    There is an art shift half way through this volume, with Tyler Crook taking over from Guy Davis.  He does a pretty good job of not making the shift too distracting, and while not as distinct a style as Davis’s, I think it’s perhaps a bit easier on the eyes.  For all the horror contained in this book, it feels like a relatively restful intake of breath, before it all goes down.


    And so, in this volume, it all starts to go down hill fast.  When Kate takes a trip to Russia, we see that things haven’t been going too well there, either.  The world is breaking down, the rules are being forgotten, and people are learning to live with a lot of things.  A lot of pretty awful things.

    It feels like with the trip to Russia, the new conflict in a post Frog war world is revealed.  Pieces are being put on the board, and the first moves are made.  Kate is forced to finally accept that Hellboy is gone, and what’s up with Abe this time?  No wonder Abe and Hellboy were such good friends.  Both have greatness written in their destiny.  Both want to do good, to be good, to fight for good.  Yet both built for cataclysmic evil.  That’s got to weigh on a person, be they a fish man or a demon.

    The first three volumes of Hell on Earth are steeped in the cosmic dread one expects from Mike Mignola’s world.  For all the fun and excitement of Hellboy and Abe’s pulp flavored adventures, there has always been an underlying doom of growing, rolling, unstoppable horror, and in B.P.R.D., that horror is bursting out of its prison, hungry and wild.  Can the broken and battered investigators and agents of the Bureau save humanity?  Can they at least buy us a few more sunrises?  It’s looking less and less likely.

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: New World
Authors: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artist: Guy Davis
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 978-1-59582-707-4

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Gods and Monsters
Authors: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artists: Guy Davis & Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 978-1-59582-822-4

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Russia
Authors: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artists: Tyler Crook & Dave Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 978-1-59582-946-7


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