Writer: John Arcudi & Mike Mignola
Artist: James Harren
Colorist: Dave Stewart
A few months ago, I reviewed the first issue of this latest run of BPRD and decided I was gonna stick through until the end of the arc. I’m happy to say I made the right decision. WHY WAS I NOT READING THIS BOOK BEFORE?!
The answer: the history of the title was daunting, but through this story, it’s clear that you can jump on with any story arc. This story is so well paced, bringing the quick punch of the shorter arc, and completely drawing me into the greater story in the BPRD world. The characters we followed in this story of more or less monster hunting, Enos, Johan, and Howards, are incredibly compelling, and made this clearly little speck of the universe very engaging. On top of this, there’s story happening in Russia, with a seemingly little girl who has demonic connections, something I’m sure is touched upon previous to this story which I’m not privy to yet, which I’m dying to know more about. Also, how the Black Flame, the big evil group this book seems to be based, is involved, remains to be seen. Even with all these plot threads left for another day, I felt incredibly satisfied with the ending. I’m left with this final issue dying for the next, with the introduction of new (to me?) characters and the idea of “the Seven”.
I can rave about the story all day, but the art is what drew me in at the start, and it continues to be a treat. Harren is one of the best sequential storytellers in the business today. Even in multi page, wordless monster battles, I never feel I’m getting short shrifted. Since Howards is more or less a mute character, there’s so much said in Harren’s rendering of his face and body. It’s just incredibly clear, confident in line, and unique; which is not something we get to see in every book. On top of that, his monster design is still second to none, and would make the captain of this overarching story, Mike Mignola, very proud. Between this book and Rumble, any fan of monsters is getting spoiled today.
This goes without saying at this point, but Dave Stewart is really incredible. The way he ties this book together, the palette being similar but clearly different locals, is truly second to none. While I always feel the Jordie Bellaire is the best colorist working today, there’s a reason Stewart has won multiple eisner’s and is always in the discussion every year.
If you’re a fan of monster movies, this book is a must get. There’s a reason this has been successfully running for over a decade. Don’t be scared off by the history, just jump in with the new story, you won’t regret it.