I'm a big fan of the format of B.P.R.D because it manages to keep itself organized with different mini-series while still respecting the continuity. It doesn't ignore past events, which rewards current readers, but it allows for a perpetual jumping-on point for new and curious parties by not getting mired in the muck.
And that continues with this issue, which gives us a clear vsion of the storylines to come without ignoring the huge events that lead up to it. The series does an amazing job of acknowledging events that happened years ago, but since the minis are labelled #1-6 at most, there isn't that feeling of "Oh, it happened forever ago in issue #1, and we're now at #40. No way I'm going back and checking."
Which is a good thing.
Things I liked:
- Possibly giving Johann a new body was something I enjoyed, as he's my favourite character in the book. Having him be physical for one arc and then tragically taking that development away made the character grow a little, and kept him from becoming too one-dimensional. Seeing him in pain added a little edge to him, as well; that would be too true for any of us that tasted supreme success, only to lose it.
- The culmination of points going back to the Plague of Frogs and The Black Flame arcs brings us back to the main "storyline" of B.P.R.D and Hellboy, which is something I think they sorely needed. I reviewed The Exorcism a couple weeks back for this site, and I think that side-story, even if only for three issues, took a little away from the narrative they had been building.
Things I didn't:
- I'm glad that this series is five issues long, because otherwise I'd be a bit miffed that we didn't get too much background on the danger that's going to be facing our heroes. Sure, we get a slight mention of possession, but man, it did not feel satisfying. It's not until the last pages until we see the effed-up things that are in store, and our faith is somewhat restored.
B.P.R.D Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master
Dark Horse Comics
The Verdict: Fourth ghosts out of five for a solid issue and setup. I liked the fact they focused on character development while somewhat refreshing us all on previous storylines, which I expect to be important as this miniseries ramps up. However, there were some speedbumps that kept this book from being perfect, and I hope they smooth themselves out soon.