cover image B.R.P.D. Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master

B.R.P.D. Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master

Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Tyler Crook. Dark Horse, $19.99 (160 p) ISBN 978-1-61655-193-3

Mignola, Arcudi, and artist Crook return to the human side of the world of Hellboy in this latest, cataclysmic volume. A sorcerer, able to turn animals into monsters without breaking a sweat, is unleashing an apocalypse in Scotland. Meanwhile, a Nazi agency uses a synthesized body, recovered by the B.R.P.D. (the cleverly named Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), to house the disembodied agent Johann and to summon Rasputin, managing to unleash a major villain—the Black Flame. Back at bureau’s headquarters, precognitive teen Fenix struggles to fit in. Though the series continues to focus on human issues amid the supernatural—the most touching scene is when agent Carla Giarocco has to explain to her spouse that, yet again, she’s not coming home from work for the weekend—it’s clear that with this volume, the world has irrevocably changed, and the agents will no longer be saving it, but hoping to rebuild. Crook’s art continues to be phenomenal in both quiet moments and in the midst of monstrous chaos, and Dave Stewart aces the colors at every turn. While longtime Hellboy followers will probably like Crook’s art best, it will also appeal even to casual readers. (Aug.)