The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense has its hands full recovering and rebuilding in “B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth” #110, co-written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. With Tyler Crook handling the art chores for the remnants of a worldwide calamity over the course of six months, this issue throws a lot of information at the readers, especially those who may have accepted the start of a new arc as an invitation to jump on.
As a new reader in the world of “B.P.R.D.,” I’ll admit I found myself a bit overwhelmed by the depth of mystery and uncertainty surrounding all of the characters in their scattered situations. Having occasionally dipped into “Hellboy” comics and watched the movies, I’m familiar enough with Liz Sherman, but much less so with the rest of the cast. While Liz remains isolated in her recovery from previous events, this issue rounds out with appearances from Johann Kraus, Fenix and shady research from Dr. Clyburn. Mignola and Arcudi drop in a bigscreen attack from one of the monsters to add some electricity and excitement to this issue that is built on plot construction. The writers keep the story moving briskly enough. They also do a fine job of clearly communicating the level of severity those inhabitants of “B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth” #110 are facing.
Tyler Crook’s art is capably matched to the story, yet lithe enough to interpret the swiping tentacles of a giant monster knocking fighter jets out of the sky pages after Liz Sherman longingly reaches out to a flame that is being blown out like an addict trying to restrain a free-spirited hand from reaching for a bottle of booze. Crook shows off massive range of emotion and body language in storytelling through his clean panel construction and detailed artwork. Colorist Dave Stewart pours color overtop, muting tones in times of stress, recovery and pain, and giving dreams a brighter palette. “B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth” #110 is a visually satisfying comic book.
It’s also a comic book that makes me pine for more adventures of “Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.” “B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth” seems to be a good choice as a surrogate to that title. I’ll have to stick it out a bit, do a little research, take a few notes to keep characters straight, but that’s testament to the complexity of the world Mignola and Arcudi construct. This isn’t a great issue for new readers, but it is enjoyable, with good character vignettes and solid plot construction that seeds plenty more story to come. I just hope the learning curve for this newbie lightens up a bit in the issues ahead.