In Review: B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #15

This hit me hard. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: Hellboy stands upon a flaming orb as several birds fly away. Clouds circle the bottom of this sphere while in the background the sky is split between the moon and the sun. Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart created this cover which could be foreshadowing the end of the world. Does it? You’ll have to read this book to find out! This is the perfect image to end this series. Overall grade: A+

The story: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie’s concluding tale begins with Liz kneeling before the body of Hellboy. His iconic arm, ripped off by Rasputin, lies close by. Hellboy’s spirit asks the spirit of Edward Grey if he’s dead. Grey responds, “It’s impossible to say exactly what you are now, Hellboy. The only thing I can say — No, promise — is that your time on Earth is nearly finished.” The two fly into the sky where they witness the greatest antagonists of this series having their moment destroyed. The spirits see what is the cause of this downfall, leading them to a new location comprised of members of an ominous group. Plans are revealed, including how they are exploiting an iconic item. The first word that starts Page 9 pumped me up and what happens on 10 had me cheering. A familiar character returns on 12 to show Hellboy a truth. I choked up at the two words that end the second panel on 15. The actions that follow weren’t a surprise, as it’s been hinted at for quite some time. However, it’s still jarring. Page 18 shows a continuation of the old, and 19 – 24 show the new beginning. This ends as I had believed it would, yet this issue still had an impact on me. One thing is sure, the saga is done. Overall grade: A+

The art: Two artists complete this series with Laurence Campbell doing Pages 1 – 11 and Mike Mignola closing things out on 12 – 24. The first panel of the book has no dialogue as Liz is shown kneeling. Hellboy and Grey’s flight is fantastic and becomes epic on Page 2. The reveal on 3 had my jaw drop and it fell further with the unthinkable shown on 4. The next page has only one dialogue balloon and features a fantastic image of Hellboy snarling. The structure seen at the bottom is Gothic, yet given a science fiction twist due to the cables below it. The introduction of this structure’s occupants continues the Gothic-Science Fiction motif brilliantly. The reveal of an object on 8 is wonderful. I love all of 10. WOW! The next page is as cinematic as comic books get. Mignola takes over with the arrival of a familiar character; Hellboy’s initial reaction to this individual is classic, while the first panel on 14 is beautiful. The pop-eyed look a few panels later is terrific. Panels two and four on 15 are heartbreakers. In all the destruction, I was happy for the images on 17 and 18. Page 19 is the moment fans have been waiting for, which is followed by an epic visual they may not have been expecting. Pages 21 – 23 fulfill all prophecies, with the final page containing something surprising. WOW! Epic visuals for an epic conclusion. Overall grade: A+

The colors: It’s shocking to see Hellboy not in his glorious red colors at the beginning of this issue. Given his state, it’s no surprise Dave Sharpe colors him gray. Reds do exist on the first page to show the inconceivable levels of destruction. The coloring of the final panel on the second page is the first shock of the book increased by colors. The lack of bright colors on the next three pages make the visuals extra disturbing. The brightly colored object on 8 is glorious. The reunification on 10 is colored perfectly. I love the colored border around the character’s speech on 13 that matches the speaker’s eyes. The colors used on 17 and 18 give the location an ancient feel, though it is the future. The greens and oranges on 22 and 23 were determined long ago to be the dominant colors in this conclusion. The oranges on the final page made my heart swell. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Clem Robins creates this issue’s text which includes dialogue, sounds, whispered speech, a yell, and narration. The contrast between the dialogue and whispered speech allows the reader to better hear characters make comments under their breath, while another is lost in a familiar mantra. The narration is in italics, setting it apart from the dialogue. Overall grade: A+

The afterword: Mike Mignola has included an Afterword to this finale to gives some final thoughts on this conclusion and his planning of it. It’s neat to read this insight. Overall grade: A+

B.P.R.D.: There is also a page that lists every contributor to the 162 issue saga. This is great. Overall grade: A+

The inside cover: A congratulations page featuring signatures from the Dark Horse staff celebrating this character’s 25 year run. Overall grade: B

The back cover: An illustration of a statue with familiar imagery by Mignola closes out this saga. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This hit me hard. I’ve been following Hellboy since the beginning. Knowing a character — a series — you’ve followed for so long is ending is a dreadful thing. I weep for the billions of innocents killed in this closing, but every lead character fulfilled their destiny and always fought for what’s right. Even dead, Hellboy took a swing at injustice one last time. Even after reading this book for a fourth time to write this review, this continues to be an emotional ending: sad, happy, surprised…But most of all, satisfied. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

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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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