The inside front cover notes that "B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Gods" #1 is "number 74 in a series," which is pretty darn impressive when you consider it quietly (and some time ago) overtook "Hellboy," the comic it spun off of. So why does no one seem to pay attention to the book?
To try and capitalize on the new status quo for the series, "B.P.R.D." became "B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth" with the previous mini-series, but in some ways this new mini-series feels like even more of a jumping on point than the previous one. Texas has turned into Hell (we'll skip all the obvious and tired jokes here), and most of the issue follows a group of young adults on the run, led by a woman who may or may not be psychic.
Despite Fenix being the focus of the issue, Mike Mignola and John Arcudi cleverly keep her from taking center stage, the main viewpoint characters being several of the people around her. And as we follow the group, we start to get more glimpses of just what's become of Texas, and the horrors that threaten to erupt everywhere you turn. It's an effective way to not only introduce a new character but to give us a wider view of just what's going on, and help draw you in. And lest you start worrying that Mignola and Arcudi have left out our B.P.R.D. members from this comic entirely, well, just you wait. There are still some surprises lurking around the corner.
Guy Davis continues to draw beautiful art, month in and month out. It's the quieter moments of this issue that got me, like Fenix staring into the distance after the fight in the train yard, with sadness and foreboding in her eyes. His rough-hewn style can still tackle the monsters, though; as we learn about the creatures that Fenix steered the group away from, we get enough of a glimpse to know that they're dangerous, vicious creatures. And while Davis can bring the gore to the page, it never feels over the top or exploitative.
"B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Gods" #1 is another strong issue for the comic, and hopefully some new readers will be willing to take a chance. (Who knows, maybe the beautiful Ryan Sook cover will lure people on board.) This is too much fun to go unnoticed.