In last month's issue of "B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Gods," Mike Mignola and John Arcudi gave us a well-deserved pause in the lives of our main characters, focusing instead on a group of regular people trying to survive this horrific new hell-on-earth status quo. So this month, lest the regular readers feel left out, they reverse the situation. We get to see what's happening with the main cast, and the moments that led up to the B.P.R.D. arriving in the survivor camp.
It's a good story structure, because as readers we already understand the dire straits that Fenix and her followers are in, even while the B.P.R.D. seems slightly oblivious. Sure, they understand that things are bad, but while Fenix and her group were concerned about the small, immediate situation (surviving another day), the B.P.R.D. is in many ways more concerned about the much larger picture. And so, this month, we get a flashback to ancient times and a thorough explanation of just what the hideous creatures known as the Ogdru Hem are, and for how long they've been imprisoned.
I'll be honest; the story itself about the Ogdru Hem is just all right. But Guy Davis's art for this portion of the comic? It's just amazing. From the fall of Hyperborea, to the photo-negative tentacles of the Ogdru Hem leaking into our reality, every page is full of something just breathtaking to look at. The ruins of Hyperborea remind me so much of Mignola's own art it's a little shocking in places, with all the faint squiggles and fragments on the pillars and the ivy coating them. And when the Ogdru Hem attack, well, it's nightmarish and disgusting. This is how to present a villain in a comic and make a strong impression.
Once we get back into the present day, Mignola and Arcudi acquit themselves well, too. The confrontation between Abe Sabien and skeptic Andrew Devon is long overdue, and Kate Corrigan's chewing them each out for different reasons says in many ways what I'm sure a lot of readers have been thinking. And from there, of course, the book goes back to the conclusion of the previous issue, with an ominous cliffhanger as the B.P.R.D. and Fenix's followers finally collide.
"B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth" is an interesting new direction for the B.P.R.D. books in general, and I keep hoping the new name might help draw in brand new readers willing to give it a shot. If you like creepy horror, this really is the best time to jump on board and see for yourself. 75 issues of a series is no small feat these days, and "B.P.R.D." has well earned that high count. Check it out.