Written by Guest Contributor: Jordan North BPRD #110 takes things to a macro level in what is one of the more refreshing issues in recent memory. Now, I’m all for monster killing, s’one of my favorite things to do in video games, watch on film and television and perhaps more importantly read in comics. But I’ll be the first to say when I realized that this issue broke the formula of having a few supernatural privy agents trudge through another cityscape I was excited and pleasantly surprised. In this issue we’re not just seeing how this outbreak affects a small group of experts, but how much devastation it’s caused the entire world.
Moments stand out like the BPRD agents discussing which cities to save and which aren’t worth it. There are even a few, like London that may as well not even be on the map at all. The balance of scale in this issue is what really elevates it. The grand spectacle of jets getting destroyed and big-wigs arguing in the mail room is given just as much time as when we follow a nameless young punk girl and her Rottweiler as they travel—if for sentiment than anything else- to seemingly the last place the girl was truly happy. It gives us the feeling that this is a big world and so many things, both large and small, are happening as a result of this outbreak. That the planet is really experiencing all this disaster all together. It’s damn good pacing and does a good job of establishing immersion.
In another exciting turn of events we get to see Liz Sherman for the first time in a long time, granted she’s bedridden and far from kicking ass and taking names at this point, but it’s okay because Mike Mignola and John Arcudi use this opportunity to really flesh out Liz as a person. Her flirtatious dialogue and relationship with her doctor really are the highlight of the issue with tight back-and-forths lending the oddest shades of something you’d see in a cute rom-com amidst all the chaos and devastation in the main story. It works, and Liz ends up shining above even characters we’ve been traveling with for issues now. A moment where the Doc smiles as he eavesdrops on Liz talking to a patient that he’s told her needs cheering up, is as cute as it gets in books featuring heavy dismemberment.
We’re also introduced to a strange and heterochromic new villain in a mysterious scientist who, in a nasty, nasty experiment with a maggot-cat demonstrates he can bring dead stuff back to life somehow. From his introduction that paints for us an obsession with demonic life and extremophiles to the brilliant juxtaposition of the experiment itself where a Pro-humanity pastor speaks out and our scientist listens on while there, in his lab, completely bastardizing the message playing out on-screen.
As with anyone on Mignola’s team Tyler Crook does wonders on art using trademark thick lines and varied-yet-muted colors to bring this post-apocalyptic vision to life.
Being a reader of Mignola’s Abe Sapien title I’ve never felt more like these two books are connected than in this issue, where Abe usually favors a more intimate approach to the disaster and those that inhabit the world after it, BPRD tends to focus on a team and scale things on a city-wide level. This issue of B.P.R.D. gives us the best of both worlds mixing those types of moments. The continuity established here is impressive and I look forward to more refreshing departures from the established framework and storytelling experimentation.
Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Artist: Tyler Crook
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 8/21/13