What started out as a background organization in a larger series, B.P.R.D., the sister series to Hellboy, has really come into its own. Originally a series of mini series, ten years on, B.P.R.D, is now a full fledged monthly ongoing. Following Liz Sherman’s torching of the Hollow Earth and the oncoming apocalypse, B.P.R.D. added a subtitle, Hell on Earth. This month brings us to B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #111 written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi with art by Tyler Crook from Dark Horse Comics.
This issue sees Mignola and Arcudi writing more of a character piece focusing on Liz Sherman and Fenix. A piece such as this, allows the writers to bring the overarching story down to a personal level. Liz is focused on life in the hospital, post-attack. She's trying to find the positive aspects to her power and deal with a mad doctor. Fenix's story starts with a flashback to an early appearance of her abilities. It then cuts to her at a Burning Man-type monster worship festival. Dialogue is usual Mignola-flair, meaning smart, short and humorous.
My only gripe would be the first two pages. Long time readers will recognize the B.P.R.D teamed up with the Russian Special Sciences Service. New readers might be thrown off by the lack of exposition. The only introduction is a short paragraph on the credits page. I would’ve enjoyed one small caption box on the first page.
The cover does its job brilliantly with a bright image of Fenix popping off the page contrasting white with pastel orange. Crook's art is clean and simple which makes the great facial expressions even better. Dave Stewart, arguably the greatest colorist in comics today, handles duties with a precision honed by decades of experience. The letters, by Clem Robins, are complementary to the art, taking a backseat, letting the imagery stand front and center.
B.P.R.D Hell on Earth #111 is the second issue of the five part current ongoing arc, 'Lake of Fire', meaning it's still early enough to jump into. With sections dedicated to key players in the Hellboy Universe, it's easy to follow and worth picking up.
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