Review: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: New World #1

Published on August 13th, 2010

A small town with something weird happening, in this case everybody in the town is disappearing. Not the most original way to start a story, but when it’s the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense you know it’s going to be interesting. B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: New World is a new series from Mike Mignola that continues where King of Fear left off.

hellonearthThere’s a lot of stuff going on in this issue that makes it a tough read, but I have high hopes that it will pay off. Dr. Kate Corrigan is the current field director for the department, and it is taking its tole on her. Every decision she makes is being questioned whether it’s what time to have a conference call, or if Abe Sapien is trustworthy after being referred to as “King of the Frog People.” Despite her problems she handles it well, when the new guy, Andrew Devon brings up that Abe may not be suitable to continue working for the department she selects Devon to handle a case in France.

As for Abe, he starts off working on a case involving a possible Doomsday Cult, but when the case is debunked as Frat House Pranks he takes one of the Hummers and heads for British Columbia, possibly in search of Bigfoot. Instead of Bigfoot he finds a town that is completely deserted, and it’s not just the people that are missing, there’s not a single animal to be found.  So Abe continues off into the woods until he comes across a psycho mountain man in fatigues with a rifle.

Meanwhile Johann Kraus, the ghost in the bubble suit, is also being questioned in his abilities to work for the bureau. But the most interesting thing with Johann involves him and a possible new body. There’s a scene where he goes down to a secure level of the headquarters where he meets with a scientist. They discuss a recent experiment on the body that ended in disappointing results. The scientist leaves and the scene ends with Johann in a lab looking at a figure in a giant tube. Having not read all of the previous B.P.R.D. story-lines I’m not sure where this new body started, but I’m definitely interested to see where this leads.

Overall I’m glad I picked up this book, Mignola is great at coming up with interesting stories and I love these characters. It’s obvious that Abe is going through some rough times after everything he’s had to deal with in the B.P.R.D. I can’t say I blame him, being a strange fish monster can’t be fun, especially when your best friends either die or disappear on you.

I do have a couple of complaints about the book, first off I got really excited when I saw the panel where Abe is reading about a Bigfoot sighting in British Columbia, but as I read it became apparent that what is really going on in this town has nothing to do with Bigfoot. I wanna see Bigfoot! My real complaint though is the art, I’ve never been a fan of this book’s art. It’s not awful by any means, but when compared to Mike Mignola’s art, it just doesn’t come close. I understand that the guy writes all the Hellboy affiliated books and because of this he doesn’t have time to do the artwork for them, but I just think that if he did do the art, these books would be ten times more enjoyable.

Another thing that kind of bothers me about the book is the name change. At the end of the book there is an explanation that King of Fear was the end of the original B.P.R.D. series, so now it’s B.P.R.D.Hell on Earth: New World. It’s a convoluted title that just seems unnecessary, I get that things are different but it’s still the same characters and it’s still a continuation  of the previous story. I think B.P.R.D. New World would have been sufficient, but it’s not the name that makes the book, it’s the story and with all that’s going on in the first issue alone, I don’t think Mignola and his team are going to have any problem with that.

Ken Zeider
Ken@ComicImpact.com