In Review: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #127

Supernatural perfection. Always recommended.

The cover: Another fantastic split cover this month from Laurence Campbell. The top half is an orange and red colored skull with oversized teeth and goat horns coming out of its eye sockets. It’s wrong in every way and that’s what makes it perfect for this cover. There’s a yellow sun to its right, while to its left is a figure standing by a leafless tree. At the bottom are three agents, with Kraus on the left. This is a home run of a cover because it shows three of the protagonists and contrasts them with something that looks familiar but has become so distorted it’s just wrong. An outstanding way to tease without telling. Overall grade: A+

The story: “Flesh and Stone” by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi continues starting at the snowed in town where the agents are based. A discussion of food is cut short with the return of Agents Enos and Howards–with the rest of their group missing. Enos can barely keep himself upright on his horse, and Howards is covered from head to toe in, possibly, black soot. As the agents come out to look at their comrades, Enos is the only one that stops. Howards continues to chart his own path, continuing to ride on even with Kraus yelling at him to stop to report what happened. Enos has enough time to get himself warm before he settles down to tell Kraus what’s happened and that’s what this issue is all about. His story picks up from last issue’s ending as he and Howards are attacked by the gigantic monster in the snow. This tale takes a turn when the focus swings to Howards, in this time and his long ago past in another lifetime. I love whenever the story goes into prehistoric mode, as it makes the evil that that Earth is battling truly seem ancient, and it’s great to see how men back then dealt with the same type of troubles that modern man is encountering. The ending was a stunner. I’m sure it’s been suggested before, but limited series adventures of Howards, please, Mr. Mignola and Mr. Arcudi? Overall grade: A+

The art: Having James Harren do sequences set in Howards’s past is akin to having Mignola draw Hellboy. It’s just something both were born to do. Before the book even gets there, the arrival of Howards into town covered in ebony is amazing. It’s an unbelievably powerful image, and the close-up in the second panel of Page 3 is tremendous. His continued trot away from Kraus on Page 4 is great. When the story went to the distant pass I was completely taken. The encounter with the flora and fauna on Page 13 is gorgeously twisted. I wished the story could have lingered there longer to have Harren show more of it, but what is encountered there was super. Page 20 was perfection with the action that’s accomplished and Page 21 shows Ian Ziering how that action is supposed to be done and how it’s supposed to look. This is marvelous primal supernatural conflict. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Once again I was taken with the coloring of Dave Stewart and his backgrounds were fantastic in making the art come to life. He’s doing much of this issue set in the snow. Whites, blues, and grays are his only choices. However, his combinations are beautiful and he colors nothing with just a solid shade. For example, Page 3, panel three, look at that wonderful cloud effect he puts in the sky, which is repeated in the final panel. This is what I would expect in the actual setting, and not the traditional solid grey or blue sky. The bright colors explode out of this book when the creatures appear, matching the ferocity of the beasts themselves. This book is a visual treat with Stewart’s masterful work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue and whispers come courtesy Clem Robins. The sounds appear to be done by Harren himself, and they look great. Robins’s work is aces, as always. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Supernatural perfection. Always recommended. 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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