To Hell And Back
Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows takes a look at Dark Horse’ BPRD: Hell On Earth Volume 1, out now…
BPRD Hell On Earth Volume 1
Writers: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi
Artists: Guy Davis, Tyler Crook and Duncan Fegredo
Dark Horse Comics
Mike Mignola created such a rich world when Hellboy debuted back in 1993 and even though Big Red doesn’t appear here, the BPRD uses that fictional playground to great effect.
We have three stories here drawn by Guy Davis, two by Tyler Crook and one short illustrated by Fegredo. With Hellboy absent in these tales, it falls to his aquatic compatriot, Abe Sabien, to act as the central focus. New World, drawn by Davis, looks at how giant monsters are causing havoc around the world and how the BPRD can combat them. Seattle acts a short bridge between New World and the next story, setting things up for what is to come. Gods, also drawn by Davis, follows on and introduces us to Fenix, a girl with second sight who offers hope of a sort and acts as a leader to a group of disparate people with nowhere to call home. Monsters, illustrated by Crook, shifts the focus to a small-town community possessed by an ancient evil with the BPRD’s Liz Sherman at its dramatic core. The final story, Russia, sees the BPRD head to the former USSR to battle zombies with the Russian government not exactly offering them total cooperation. The collection ends with a sweet short drawn by Fegredo, An Unmarked Grave, which touches on an old case for Hellboy.
The BPRD is wonderfully episodic comicbook horror. Mignola and Arcudi have done this for so long that they make it seem effortless. Davis has always been a very talented and distinctive comic artist and he is the perfect match for their script. Crook also offers a slightly different, more modern take on the characters but is equally an ideal choice to bring Mignola’s skew whiff world to life on the comics page. The short that ends the collection is a simple but touching affair. Colourist Dave Stewart, one of the finest colour artists in modern comics, ties it altogether with his vibrant palette.
The BPRD would make a fantastic TV show but it also manages to play to the strengths of comics as a medium and as an artform. BPRD Hell On Earth volume one is a hefty chunk of horror entertainment and it continues to prove that Mignola with the sizeable contribution of co-writer Arcudi hasn’t lost any of his spark as a creator.
BPRD Hell On Earth Volume One is out now from Dark Horse Comics