In Review: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #123

Monsters battle on a ruined Japan and readers get to watch it play out in perfect style.

The cover: The city of Japan is being raised by a gigantic monster. Fire and explosions go off at the beast’s feet as a lone helicopter tries to avoid its wrath. However, hope may be rising on the right as a huge beam of energy explodes from the surface bearing the image of Johann Kraus. This is a cool image by Laurence Campbell, but is only a representational cover of what actually lies within this book’s pages. I’m all for giant monster action, so this has me excited about what will happen in this installment. Overall grade: B+

The story: This issue concludes “The Broken Equation” by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. The doorway to another dimension (?) that was opened thirty years ago by Dr. Kukyo released another creature in the previous issue, though this one is several stories tall. Its entrance to our world destroyed the underground laboratory where it was located. Luckily, the B.P.R.D. agents and the Japanese staff survived, including Dr. Kukyo who is now cognizant. Meanwhile, on the surface, the B.P.R.D. agent Enos scrambles to get out of the new monster’s path. He runs into Kraus’s unit, which has tanks. They fire upon on smaller, elephant-sized monster, but realize their weapons would be useless against the new monster or the giant its heading toward. What follows is a monstrous monster smack-fest with the humans just witnessing the fight. Page 10 has Agent Enos screaming what I would have screamed, and his dialogue atop 11 and Kraus’s reaction to it perfection. Naturally, a fight of this stature couldn’t be brief, and a newcomer to the field increases the action. I liked Kukyo’s interjections into the battle, but they telegraphed the ending of this story early on. Still, this was fun to read and nothing like this have ever been shown in a Mignolverse book before. Overall grade: A

The art: Nice action and drama captured by Joe Querio on this book. The opening images of Kukyo are very freaky, setting the stage for what’s to follow. I really liked the creepy hands that Querio gives him, and I should have foreseen their use on Page 17. Enos looks great on Page 2 and it’s the perfect way to introduce him to readers. Also making one heck of an entrance is the monster at the top of that page. The double-paged spread that shows the two monster’s battle is a worthy venue for this event. Thought much of this issue falls on the fighting beasts, the settings are also well done. The debris our heroes have to free themselves from on the first page is sharp, as are the stairs they have to climb on Page 5, which give a run for the money to those shown in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The back and forth between the final battle and Kukyo’s plight were done extremely well. Querio needs to do another B.P.R.D. story soon. Overall grade: A

The colors: Dave Stewart does an excellent job on this rumble in the East. He nicely begins the book with dark, drab colors to showcase the buried stated the characters are in. On Page 2 the colors go bright with the surfacing of the new monster, and Enos’s ginger top make him stand out even from a distance. Once the fight begins on Page 7 colors get vivid, yet maintain the apocalyptic atmosphere. Stewart employs vivid oranges and green for the conflict, but uses cool blues to make one beast stand out. Sound effects are also vivid, with the blue THOOMs really being the perfect herald for one monster. I also love the sickly green he uses for the gore of one beast’s meal. The colors of this book are every bit the match of the art. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Dialogue and sounds are brought to life by Clem Robins, and he gets to have a field day with all the sounds. If you ever pretended you were a Japanese monster destroying a city and made sounds, Robins is doing just that on the pages of this book. Great stuff! Overall grade: A

The final line: This closes out a two part story, but this could have gone on much longer and been just as good. Monsters battle on a ruined Japan and readers get to watch it play out in perfect style. A fun read. Overall grade: A

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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