Unique and interesting characters draw the reader in, where they’ll then confront an art style that’s sure to instill a sense of dread.
Liz Sherman’s rescue mission was a success. While Liz anxiously awaits the recovery of the formerly missing B.P.R.D. member, a squad of B.P.R.D. operatives continues its work of cleaning up the post-apocalyptic mess. Meanwhile, a cunning and sinister evil takes advantage of the ample distractions and chaos to gather strength and numbers.
Dark Horse synopsis
With the apocalypse narrowly averted, the cults that sprang up in response to the worldwide crisis are left with idle hands.
What’s the skinny?
Last issue we were introduced to the pyromancer Liz Sherman, exorcist Ashely Strode, and a ragtag squad of B.P.R.D. operatives. This band of misfit heroes battled monsters out of your worst nightmares in an effort to rescue one of their own, Abraham Sapien, the well-known telepathic amphibious man. While Abe may be back within their ranks, there’s still lots of work to do. The earth remains a festering wound that risks returning to a state of hellish anarchy, should the remainders of the apocalyptic events preluding our story be left to their own devices. As we saw in the first issue demons and monsters still roam the land and who better to kick their ass back to hell than the B.P.R.D.?
Beyond the obvious problems plaguing the country (see giant monsters), there’s a far more cunning evil at work. A strange little girl is roaming the countryside and along the way she’s gathering an ever-growing flock of followers. How you ask? By reaching out to people through their dreams. B.P.R.D. operative Ashley Strode is on her heels though, after finding a connection between the child and a recently exorcised demon. Little girls that have a reputation with demons from hell is typically not a good thing.
What’s the catch?
It’s clear that reading previous B.P.R.D. material would be a great help in understanding a few of the characters who’ve popped up, but it doesn’t feel like a requirement which is nice. As with the first issue there’s a lot going on here, though, so you’ll want to pay close attention or you might miss something.
Is it good?
There’s so much going on in this story that I enjoy. Ashley Strode in particular continues to be all kinds of awesome. Confronted by a giant demon surrounded by wall of flame? No big deal. I’ve got rosary beads, a summoning circle and a big ole sword. The character exudes an aura of a calm, cool, level-headed badass. Beyond her no-nonsense approach to exorcisms and demons, there’s a strong desire to help people and fix her messed up world. I’m greatly looking forward to watching how this character’s story develops.
I’m quickly becoming a Laurence Campbell superfan. There’s an aspect to his work here that will immediately resonate with any Hellboy fan, as it’s clear that Mignola had an influence, but Campbell’s style is still very much his own. What strikes me most about his work is how easily he creates a world that’s scary and at times downright terrifying. You don’t ever really feel like the characters are safe, even when they’re supposed to be. His ability to slowly build a sense of foreboding and dread is truly fantastic. The characters are drawn in a minimalist style that relies heavily on negative space and shadows for definition. It’s the perfect fit for this book.
I’ve been very impressed with Mike Mignola and Scott Allie thus far. They’ve taken a world and a team that’s in complete disarray and somehow corralled them all into the same pen without it being a complete and utter mess. When you have a high number of characters in a comic book story there’s usually one or two that take command of the readers attention, even in books like Justice League and Avengers, yet that doesn’t happen here. Each plot point and character has its own unique drawing factor: Liz, the emotionally broken pyromancer, Ted Howards, the stoic sword wielding monster killing machine, Ashley Strode, the badass, takes-no-s--t-exorcist, and then there’s the very human and ground level stories of the B.P.R.D. field operatives. I didn’t even get to the bad guys yet and I don’t think I need to. If that’s not a credit to the writing, I don’t know what is.