Overview

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth - New World #3

Review

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B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth - New World #3

Credits

  • Words: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
  • Art: Guy Davis
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Oct 13, 2010

Despite its long-winded, convoluted title, BPRD: Hell on Earth – New World is an easy series to escape into. As the mystery in rural British Columbia deepens, creators Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, and Guy Davis ramp up the action and intrigue, with new twists and a heightened sense of urgency as even greater supernatural threats emerge across the continent.

As Abe and former BPRD leader Capt. Ben Daimio struggle to discover the truth behind the strange occurrences in British Columbia, Dr. Corrigan mobilizes the remainder of the Bureau, in the wake of a freak geological event in Houston that kills millions. Thrust into the public eye as the human face of the BPRD, as hordes of supernatural creatures accompany Houston’s new volcano, Corrigan finds herself with no choice but to trust in a fractured team to run the show at HQ in her stead.

It’s these brief interludes away from Abe’s investigation of phenomena north of the border that really helps set the tone for this latest BPRD limited series. Representing a purposeful shift in focus away from the ensemble cast’s star player, Hell on Earth shines a spotlight on lesser known faces such as Corrigan, Kraus, and the team in Colorado Springs. It’s a win-win situation for the creators as the character development of the supporting cast members in these early chapters lays the foundation for a more intriguing and intense dynamic down the road, when Abe returns to the forefront of the series.

Mignola and Arcudi continue to weave a suspenseful, exciting supernatural plot but it’s once again Guy Davis’ stellar turn as series artist that really steals the show. I’ve gone on at length in previous BPRD reviews about the quality of Davis’ work on this book but the contribution of his artistic collaborator, colorist Dave Stewart, should also be noted.

I know quite a few colorists and to the last one, they’ve all bemoaned the challenges sloppy or incomplete linework presents to a polished, fully colored finished comic. That isn’t to say Davis is lazy or sloppy. Everything I’ve read about the man would seem to indicate the exact opposite is true. Having said that, his style on BPRD is inherently raw and rough around the edges, so I can’t help but wonder at the difficulties the art created for his partner. Fortunately, Stewart is one of the best in the biz and utilizes an understated palette and subtle brush techniques to accentuate and celebrate Davis’ art, while creating a more complete picture for the audience.

It’s this organic collaboration between all members of the creative team that pushes BPRD to the forefront of creator-owned comics. Mignola’s guiding hand is definitely evident in the series but he doesn’t forget where he comes from. He allows Arcudi’s voice to be heard in the script’s pacing and dialogue, Davis’ raw expressiveness to be fully appreciated by his discerning audience, and brings in the perfect colorist to bring it all home, with just the right amount of flourish and digital magic.

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