Comic Picks By The Glick

B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth vol. 3: Russia

August 28, 2012

This volume was  solid... and not a whole heck of a lot more.  In the wake of Abe Sapien slipping into a catatonic state following his shooting in the previous volume, Kate and Johann find themselves on a plane to Russia after the dead start rising north of Moscow.  However, that’s not the only surprise they find there, and as Kate deals with leftover political tensions from the Cold War, Johann quickly comes under the influence of Iosif, head of the Russian occult bureau and a man trapped in a suit like the B.P.R.D.’s bodiless medium.  This all leads to a bloody confrontation with a monstrous entity a mile below the Earth that has to be nuked up close rather than from orbit.

For the B.P.R.D. I imagine that’s what they call “Thursday” after all they’ve been through up to now.  The story is as solidly constructed as you’d expect from Mike Mignola and John Arcudi and it does a decent job of adding more ambiguity to Johann’s character and setting up Iosif as someone whose interests probably don’t align entirely with the Bureau’s.  Subplots are ticked over too as we see that Abe is slowly mutating into something else, Zinco is up to no good, and Devon finds an in with the psychic Fenix.  There are no real surprises here, but the strangeness on display is still something you won’t find anywhere else.

This volume also marks Tyler Crook’s first full-length mini-series and he acquits himself well here.  Any artist who works on “B.P.R.D.” needs to be able to draw anything and Crook shows us that he pretty much can.  From the still-living remains of people melted into underground walls, the living dead carrying out menial construction tasks, ectoplasmic terrors springing from a man’s thin soul, and Russian special forces dying horrible, horrible deaths, the man shows us that he certainly has the chops to fill the shoes of Guy Davis.

Filling out the volume is “An Unmarked Grave” with art by Duncan Fegredo.  If the artist’s presence didn’t give it a way, this story serves as an epilogue to “Hellboy:  The Storm and The Fury” as Kate encounters Alice in England and is told of Hellboy’s passing.  Though it doesn’t add much to the overall epic, this does work as a nice bit of continuity showing some interaction between the two titles.  Savor it, because with the upcoming “Hellboy in Hell” series, we probably won’t be seeing anything like this for quite some time.

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