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B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth Volume 1 - New World Paperback – August 16, 2011
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About the Author
Mike Mignola's fascination with ghosts and monsters began at an early age; reading Dracula at age twelve introduced him to Victorian literature and folklore, from which he has never recovered. Starting in 1982 as a bad inker for Marvel Comics, he swiftly evolved into a not-so-bad artist. By the late 1980s, he had begun to develop his own unique graphic style, with mainstream projects like Cosmic Odyssey and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. In 1994, he published the first Hellboy series through Dark Horse. There are thirteen Hellboy graphic novels (with more on the way), several spinoff titles (B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder), prose books, animated films, and two live-action films starring Ron Perlman. Along the way he worked on Francis Ford Coppola's film Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), was a production designer for Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), and was the visual consultant to director Guillermo del Toro on Blade II (2002), Hellboy (2004), and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008). Mike's books have earned numerous awards and are published in a great many countries. Mike lives in Southern California with his wife, daughter, and cat. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence (B. P. R. D.) faces a new threat to the world. Dangerous and deadly creatures roam the earth. We are introduced to new characters along the way.
We learn more in-depth information about each character, and the characters develop nicely.
The art is outstanding. The storyline is interesting with good dialogue, but the story really unfolds with what is left unsaid.
Mike Mignola is known for the popular Hellboy series, and the writing in this collection is beyond entertaining. However, I would expect nothing less from Mignola. He’s an absolute pro when it comes to graphic novels. He never disappoints.
It’s 408 pages of comic book / graphic novel pleasure.
Well...not so much. To be fair, after the everything-but-the-kitchen sink finale of the Frog War, there obviously needed to be a little bit of a cool-down period. You can't run full-speed forever without risking creator AND reader burnout. This volume seemed a little slow, but the back-to basics feel of the book was clearly intentional, and by the end of this collection, the pieces were all on the table and ready to be moved into position. The last page, especially, hinted at great horrors to come.
B.P.R.D. : HELL ON EARTH, VOLUME 1 collects the first three story arcs in the HELL ON EARTH relaunch, as well as a few bonus stories:
NEW WORLD is a straightforward, old-school B.P.R.D. story that finds Abe Sapien investigating waves of disappearances that are leaving small towns deserted. Along the way, Abe runs into a couple of familiar faces, and the petty grudges among members of the Bureau reach a breaking point. Mignola and Arcudi take their time to develop new team members in this collection, and I'm sure that will pay huge dividends in the future.
SEATTLE is a short story that was originally published as a stand-alone ashcan edition, and it serves to show the state of the world, post Frog War. Good stuff
GODS finds Abe and company searching for a young girl who is developing a cult-like following, and MONSTERS checks in on the MIA Liz Sherman. GODS marks the end of artist Guy Davis' tenure on the book, as well as signaling a major milestone in the life of Abe Sapien. MONSTERS also welcomes new series artist Tyler Crook, who fits in quite well, and continues Abe's arc from GODS.
RUSSIA finds Kate being sent to Russia to help with a problem with the undead, which necessitates her teaming with another familiar face from the Mignolaverse past. I love the way that even the most unimportant side character can turn out to be a huge deal in the Mike Mignola universe. This was a good, solid tale, and the last page was a mind-blower. I cannot wait to see where the story goes from here.
The book closes out with the short story from DARK HORSE PRESENTS, ISSUE 8, entitled AN UNMARKED GRAVE, which finds Kate in England trying to track down Hellboy. Very emotional stuff, but it does rely on a knowledge of Hellboy's story, which most readers probably have. I doubt many people are reading B.P.R.D. without reading the mother ship book.
There's also a massive sketchbook section, as well as an introduction by John Arcudi and a foreword by Mike Mignola.
Overall, a little more of a mixed bag than I was expecting, especially in the wake of the razor-sharp War on Frogs, but you can clearly see the players being assembled and the pieces being put into play, so.....I sense further greatness on the horizon.
Dark Horse Comics provided a review copy.
I was sent Hell on Earth Volume One to review and I thought that would be fun and a way to get back in touch with the series. The last MM-verse book I read was his love letter to Hammer Horror, "Mr. Higgins Comes Home" and enjoyed it, so I assumed I would enjoy this as well.
I didn't. I loved it. In many ways the apocalypse is exactly what BPRD needed to make it interesting and relevant again. They're not only fighting foul beasties, but each other, various governments and humanities. In many ways, the inter-personal relationships between characters has never been better and it reminded me a lot of the old JLI series, but without the humour. The characters are so well definied, you almost forget it is the end of the world.
A lot happens in this mammoth hardcover, which re-collects the first three TPBs and some extras. I enjoyed seeing Abe take center stage for a while, along with learning what happened to Liz, the craziness of what is going on in Russia and the return of the Wendigo, one of my favorite monsters. This was so good it convinced me to preorder the second hard cover and purchase the first of the three hardcover Abe Sapien collections and I don't regret a thing. I'm really glad I had the chance to pick this up as it has brought me full-fold back into the Hellboy universe and I wish I had never strayed.