January 23, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth Russia #5

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth Russia #5 (of 5)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writers: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artist: Tyler Crook (cover by Dave Johnson)

After last issue’s big explosion, Kate is left wondering if Johann is still alive. She’s reminded by one of the Russian Occult Bureau operatives that Johann can’t physically be killed. She calms down slightly, but then realizes that she doesn’t have Johann’s spare containment suit. The chopper lands and she goes right after Iosif (the Russian Occult Bureau leader), but before she can really flip out, Johann steps out of the shadows in front of her. Johann talks her down, while Iosif tries to help as well, but Kate is furious with him. Johann tells her not to be angry, because it was his idea and not Iosif’s to go into the zombie infested cave without her knowing about it until after the mission had begun. After things simmer down, we see Kate having a video conference with Bruno (one of the brass back at the B.P.R.D.). They discuss what’s happened and how they are going to move forward, but then Kate is interrupted by Iosif. He gives her a flash drive and tells her that he’s downloaded all the information from his bureau from the last fifty plus years. Of course, she’s elated, but is still wondering about Johann and his strange fascination with Iosif. Speaking of the fearless Russian leader, we see an interlude with him that is an obvious building block for the next chapter in the book of the B.P.R.D.!

You know something, it is 2012, but I think I have to admit that my favorite title of 2011 had to be B.P.R.D., and that I think this year will be no different. Mignola and Arcudi have a web spinning here that is undeniably intriguing, action packed, and just all around cool. The vibe you get from this story is like none other I’ve read. It’s like a spy novel with zombies, coupled with the most eccentric cast of characters ever assembled. And again, remember, this story is being told without Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and a host of other more popular members of the title, too. That in itself is a testament to the writing being done by this team.

Tyler Crook is such a great fit for this book artistically. His style of work really does justice to these characters. Specifically Kate and Johann, with whom he seems to “get,” as far as emotion on their faces, and just their over all look. He makes the Russian leader (Iosif) seem menacing in one scene, then genial in the next one. This is something some people may say “so what” about, but think about it for a minute. How many times have you picked up a book and on one page a character is calm, then a few pages later is angry but still has the same expression on his/her face? Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of that, too, but not with Crook.

Dark Horse has announced that this year will be a huge year for B.P.R.D., and I for one can’t wait to see what the future holds. It’s been hinted that Abe Sapien will make his return, and also another big secret reveal will happen. I’m hoping for Liz Sherman to come back to the fold as well, and no disrespect to the current cast, but the team is definitely better with those two than without. I’m also hoping that Tyler Crook stays on as artist as well, because as I mentioned earlier, he has a great grasp on things and I’d hate to see it lost because of a change. Rating 4.5/5

Billy Dunleavy


One Comment

  1. RiverUntoRock

    I definitely agree with you, sir, in regards to Tyler Crook being a surprising fit for the BPRD. His facial expressions, though less “realistic,” by conventional standards, seem to really convey subtle (and not so subtle) emotions that the other pencillers of the book usually must overcompensate for. I, too, am looking forward for more of his contributions to the Mignolaverse. One thing, though. That last reveal with Iosif at the interlude made my heart jump. I was not expecting this. Can’t wait to see how this is going to play out. And Abe… did you notice the change? 2012 is, indeed, going to be an interesting year. In any case, well done with the review.

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