Review: B.P.R.D. – Hell on Earth: Russia #1 (of 5)

179602011 has been the year for Hellboy and B.P.R.D. as creator Mike Mignola has taken each series to a new level and really capped off events alluded to from the very beginning of the world’s creation. With this next chapter of B.P.R.D. we truly are experiencing “Hell on Earth.” Abe is out of commission and we know what Elizabeth is up due to the last series of B.P.R.D. which leaves us only a few members to take on any new situations. The issue begins with an event in Russia that sees a commander exploring some underground tunnels, what he’s looking for is unclear. He soon finds a vile looking pile of human remains that have been mushed together as one blob like substance. Soon bright lights over takes him as he begins shouting at his men asking them if “they feel it.” Soon after the B.P.R.D. team consisting of Kate Corrigan and Johann Kraus are on their way to meet the Russian Occult Team.

On their plane ride over Kate recaps the events that have had the world turned upside down and expresses her concerns with Abe’s comma. As they land, they are only greeted by one officer and a group of men with flame throwers. As they make their way to their meeting a man transforms into a giant blob and attacks the B.P.R.D.’s car. The driver reassures them that the car is fire proof as the soldiers light the man on fire killing him. At their meeting Kate is blindsided by the Russians knowledge of their missions, especially the more recent ones that haven’t turned out very well. It’s a very on the nose reference to Wiki Leaks which keeps the series modern, but puts a date stamp on the title as well.

The book is mainly plot set up and thus doesn’t accomplish much more than that. It’s not a bad thing, but don’t expect a lot of answers to what’s happening in the world of Hellboy or action for that matter. Because this is just the first issue of five it’s a good starting point for a new chapter in the series and since this one is much longer than the previous installments it can stand to be slow. The writing from Mignola and John Arcudi continues to be great and really there’s nothing new I can say about them. They are crafting a strong world that ties into Hellboy, but is able to accomplish a lot on its own.

Tyler Crook began his stint as the regular artist on the last series and though his art was good on the previous he’s already shown improvement with this chapter. A lot of the finer details that were missing in the last series have been worked into the latest and it makes his art a lot more enjoyable to look at. I would say that in general his art still comes across a bit too cheery for the series and universe, but it’s still some very good art. I think with some improvement he could really nail the “end of the world” tone, but right now he’s not quite there.

Are you reading B.P.R.D.? Then keep reading it. If you’re not, but you’re interested then really you can jump on with the start of every new series. There is always a recap of events at the beginning of the book and usually the characters dialog will fill in any other blanks that you need in a very seamless way. Frankly, I’m suffering from “reboot fatigue” and have been enjoying books that aren’t about superheroes. If you’re fatigued as well, but have stumbled back into comics recently then take a look at the Hellboy-verse.

Score: 3/5

Writers: John Arcudi and Mike Mignola

Artist: Tyler Crook

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics