It’s always nice to know you’ve reached the concluding issue of a story arc, but when it’s really good it’s a bit sad. Regardless, we want answers! Does Dark Horse deliver? Is it good?
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #142 (Dark Horse Comics)
The official Dark Horse summary reads:
After tracing the origins of a demonic symbol to an abandoned house in a rural town, Ashley must face the town’s demons before more children disappear.
Why does this book matter?
Mike Mignola, Cameron Stewart, and Chris Roberson are all listed as the writers which is damn good company. It basically promises there will be the macabre, good pace, and solid character development. On top of that Mike Norton continues to draw what is essentially a very good comic that’s so close to storyboards it might as well be a cinematic experience.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The big mystery gets a full explanation complete with a very evil narrator. I won’t reveal who–or what–it is, but it’s a great bit of flashback story goodness. This leads to one hell of a throwdown for Ashley as she brings down some justice for all the children lost over the years. Fans of the series and of Ashley should know there’s a major development as far as her powers that could be a game changer moving forward.
So maybe don’t walk towards the voice that says it’s hungry.
Norton continues to impress with the art too. The beast Ashley gets the full flashback from has a very neat transformation that goes back and forth, upping the creepy level of the thing. When they battle, the fight is easy to follow and fun. The flashback helps increase the gravity of the situation well due to Norton’s ability to draw one freaky looking Pandemonium. Basically put, the fantastical elements look great and the action–between a 5 foot woman and a 30 foot beast–is easy to follow and believable. Not an easy thing to do!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though there is a strong flashback to break things up this issue does suffer from everything happening in one location. That means a lot of dialogue, a lot of exposition, and a lot of “saying what you’ll do instead of seeing it happen” kind of storytelling. It’s not as visual as it should be and it feels stuffy because of it.
Is It Good?
Like any good mystery the big reveal is satisfying and interesting. The main character gets to throw down with one hell of an evil beast too, but it does suffer from a lot of dialogue and no scene (or locale) changes. Regardless, B.P.R.D. continues to be the best detective story on the stands.