B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth - New World #2


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B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth - New World #2


  • Words: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
  • Art: Guy Davis
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Sep 9, 2010

One of the truest tests of a successful series, whether ongoing or limited in duration, is the strength of its second issue. Often the second issue of a series suffers from a noticeable shift in focus away from spectacle and originality, towards a need to actually tell the story, develop characters, and reveal setting. Much of the energy seems to disperse as the creators get down to the nitty-gritty of making comics – especially if the necessary expositional elements and world-building aren’t fluid and balanced by enough movement.

The new car smell fades and fans are left wondering why they ever picked up such a lemon in the first place.

The latest BPRD mini, Hell on Earth – New World refuses to buckle under the weight of its own rich history in the Hellboy universe and continues to drive the plot forward in unforeseen directions. Mignola and Arcudi’s plot is tight, the relatively quiet nature of this issue balanced by revelatory character moments, as they budget enough time and space for each member of the ensemble cast.

Each character is allowed their time in the spotlight, revealing new facets of their personalities and hinting at the many subtle motivations and conflicting agendas lurking behind the scenes of the BPRD’s daily operations. Just as every TV ensemble cast has its main attraction and/or breakout star, so too does BPRD in Abe Sapien. By far the most recognizable member of the cast, Mignola and Arcudi do a fair job of ensuring Abe doesn’t take over the series, by devoting much of this issue to Corrigan, Johann, and Panya’s ever-evolving dynamic. Even still, it’s Abe’s experience and strength of belief that leads to the source of the supernatural disturbances in the abandoned town and the reintroduction of a former lost teammate.

Guy Davis’ art continues to impress this issue as well. Much of the character development and quirky, supernatural tone present in this series would fall flat, if not for Davis’ exceptional storytelling. Characters are animated and facial expressions exaggerated with just the right amount of flair and melodrama to prevent them from coming off cheesy or over the top. Settings are full and hefty, a sense of reality founded on an incredible attention to detail balancing the cartoonish style perfectly.

Davis is a true chameleon, his work in BPRD miles away, in terms of tone and style, from previous works on Sandman Mystery Theater and other more adult projects. He captures the flavor of Mignola’s unique world, while adding his own ingredients to the recipe to keep things fresh.

In BPRD: Hell on Earth – New World, Mignola and company achieve a finely wrought balance between character development and plot movement, realizing that spectacle doesn’t always have to rely on huge double-page battle royales. Relevant and poignant emotional beats and precisely timed twists allow the creators to avoid the sophomore curse and keep the momentum driving forward in this next chapter of the BPRD’s strange history.

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