June 7, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Transformation of J.H. O’Donnell

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Transformation of J. H. O’Donnell (one-shot)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writers: Mike Mignola & Scott Allie
Artist: Max Fiumara
Colors: Dave Stewart

The elderly professor O’Donnell seems like a bit of a crackpot. In this issue, we find out why. Years ago, Professor Broom was too busy to handle a certain case that involved the death of one Alessandro Divizia. This individual was known to have an extensive library that included dozens of books on occult matters from centuries ago. Since Professor Broom couldn’t make it, he sent Professor O’Donnell and Hellboy to investigate. Well, after rummaging through some old books, they found nothing. Hellboy decided that the house was clear and took a nap. Meanwhile, Professor O’Donnell discovered a secret passageway to another library in the basement. What he found down there drove him mad, and it’s also what he doesn’t ever speak about. Hellboy was attacked by a demon upstairs, then a fire broke out and everyone had to get out of the house. A couple of days later, Hellboy found the professor wandering around a field in the town. Since then, he’s been a strange guy that pretty much just talks about things that no one else understands.

This series, simply put, is fantastic. There are a lot of things that need to be tied together at this point, but I can wait and enjoy this for what it is in the meantime. It was great to see Hellboy, even if it was a flashback story. He always adds something extra to a book and really has been missed. Not that the current cast of characters aren’t cutting it, but he just gives the book a boost. This is especially true since Abe went down. Mignola is certainly being mysterious about how everything will come together in the end, but is making sure it’s a thrill ride that creeps people out, too!

New artist (to this title) Max Fiumara picks right up where the previous artist left off. His backgrounds are very dark and scary, and the renditions of Hellboy and Professor O’Donnell are quite good, too. He doesn’t get really detailed during action scenes, and that’s no big deal, for sure. Most people want action and horror out of a book like this, and believe me, you get it! The characters in the book are definitely not your typical pencils, as the Professor and others have pointed features and such, but it does fit right in with this title.

Once again, I urge anybody that is on the fence or just flat out not picking this book up to give it a chance. Even hardcore horror readers can admire the scare factor that this book has. Sometimes it’s gory, but that doesn’t detract from the good writing and artwork this series presents every month! Check out the cool Mignola variant below! Rating 4/5

Billy Dunleavy



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