It’s getting to the point in B.P.R.D. that the series is beginning to feel drawn out. I know that with the way Mignola and Arcudi have structured the story and the world that there is a payoff that we’re working towards. With the world exploding and more and more monster pouring out of Hell you’d think there would be some urgency to get there. Instead, this series feels as if it must cater to the other two ongoing series, rather than be its own entity or at the very least contribute. While this issue has cool moments, the story is so straight forward that it’s not very interesting. It begins at a camp fire where Johann and another member of B.P.R.D. are sitting. The soldier, Nicolas, narrates the story for us and he talks about the pills he’s about to take in order to get some rest. He knocks out leaving Johann the only one in to look after the camp, which is fine since he doesn’t sleep.
We jump to the events that have led up to this campfire, meaning we’ve read some of the ending before the beginning. I personally don’t like this storytelling device, but Arcudi and Mignola at least make it interesting at the end. The B.P.R.D. team is on a helicopter heading into a storm. We meet Nicholas properly, as he chats with another agent. They figure out pretty quickly that it’s not just the storm knocking them around as a giant jellyfish plant looking thing emerges from the ground and sprays some red gas at them. Johann tells them all to get their masks on, but the guy Nicholas was talking to doesn’t get his on in time and turns into a monster… along with the pilot of the helicopter, who I don’t even think had a mask to begin with.
Nicholas is our main character for this issue and his narration at times, drives the story. Unfortunately he’s not strong enough of a character to lead the plot. There’s nothing interesting about him and he comes off schizophrenic at times with his thoughts. Aside from two decent scenes there isn’t much that happens in this book. The team is heading to Chicago to rescue another team and crash lands forcing them to walk to Chicago. Tune in next time for: more monsters and walking. In general the writing didn’t feel as strong as the previous issue and I have no idea what it’s building towards.
The art is actually really good and reminded me of a war book. In fact, until the monsters arrived I really felt like a military focused story. The pencil work, while realistic, is also gritty and relies on shadowing. It gives the book a great look and helps set the somber mood of the world. No one and I mean no one is excited about this mission and it’s apparent on their faces.
I don’t know if it was the art that just didn’t capture the script or if the script didn’t maximize the potential of the art (likely the latter), but this book was just average. It didn’t have the usual charm of a B.P.R.D. issue and at times failed to even remind me of what I was reading. If the next issue doesn’t pick up, I’ll probably wait for a new story arc before coming back to the series.
Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi Artist: Laurence Campbell Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 5/15/13