In Review: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #125

An excellent pause before the next storm.

The cover: I’m really enjoying these split covers that are appearing on B.P.R.D. It’s a clever way to show two different aspects of the story and I hope that it becomes a regular feature on the book. This image by Laurence Campbell has the top two-thirds of the page focus on Howards with the left side of his face looking solemn as some primitive men stand before a fire examining their cave paintings. The bottom of the page has three members of the B.P.R.D. in hazmat suits, while Howards walks beside them with no extra protection on, save his mystical sword over his shoulder. I’m a huge fan of Howards and seeing him split between the past and present is terrific. I love the contrast of images and the coloring is great! Notice how the coloring in the past is brighter than that of the present. That doesn’t bode well for modern times, does it? Very well done. Overall grade: A+

The story: “Flesh and Stone” by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi goes to a lot of different places, focusing on several different characters, yet is as smooth as a walk in the park. The first four pages deal with Howards’s alternate identity in the past, as he prepares to take his men to discover why the hunts have grown thinner. The story then transitions to the present, showing Howards and Agent Enos and Kraus on a mission. The most surprising pages come with a return to New York where Pages 9 and 10 gave me quite a jolt. But Page 11–Wow! That’s a stunner of a moment. What the heck is going on? I love that this is just teased and leaves the reader with a zillion questions, just like the characters at the bottom of that page. Events in Russia also get a few pages, with the return of one of the most disturbing characters in the series’ history making a very vocal return. There’s also a two page return to base, where someone is planting for the future. This is a very enjoyable break from all the action that’s occurred. Overall grade: A

The art: I am a fervent fan of James Harren’s art. I will purchase anything this man does and I’m unbelievably happy that he’s returned to do a tale in the Mignolaverse. Having a story set in the Howards’s past was a dream come true. There’s only build up, no conflict, and the art is amazing. I love the markings on the characters, with that middle panel on Page 4 being incredible. The transition between Pages 4 and 5 is a great way to show Howards in both times. The city that that the agents go into looks great, and captures the desolation of the west and the creepiness of the Apocalypse. The bottom of Page 9 is wonderful, and the face on the man in the white coat tells much of the backstory. Also great is the guard on Page 11 in panel two. This book looks fantastic on every page. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Dave Stewart again has a lot of different places to go to and he makes the most of it. The opening page is beautiful with his coloring, and only improves once entering the cave. I love the background colors used in the bottom panel on Page 3–it evokes an exterior that is primitive. The lush wilderness turns foreboding with the night on Page 4, and the palette completely changes on Page 5. Love the rock work. New York is colored like a pristine modern day metropolis, but the colors drastically change at the bottom of 9 with the entrance of something unusual. I also love the colors of the suits on 15. This book’s beauty increases with Stewart’s contributions. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue is crafted by Clem Robins for this issue and it looks great. There are also a few sound effects but they appear to have been created by James Harren directly onto his art. Overall grade: A

The final line: An excellent pause before the next storm. Overall grade: A

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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