Overview

BPRD - Hell on Earth: Gods #2

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BPRD - Hell on Earth: Gods #2

Credits

  • Words: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
  • Art: Guy Davis
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Feb 9, 2011

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

These words were spoken by Brian Michael Bendis a bunch of years ago during a writers’ workshop at Wizard World Chicago and I don’t know that truer words have ever been spoken. I’m not even a huge Bendis fan (although I still love Jinx and his early work on Ultimate Spider-Man – oh, and Daredevil…Crap maybe I am a fan). Be that as it may, I find it ironic that these words were uttered by the same man responsible for every major Marvel crossover event since House of M (or maybe before – I stopped caring about this time).

The reason I find this ironic is because crossover events are notorious for being nothing more than cash grabs, as publishers string a story out over multiple titles and issues, forcing consumers to fork over extra money in order to keep up with whatever convoluted plot concoction they’ve come up with this time. Every time one of these things goes down or a major character dies, the creators and publishers assure the fans that the repercussions will be felt throughout the entire universe for years to come…

I call bullshit.

The so-called “deaths” of Steve Rogers and Bruce Wayne are two of the most obvious examples of needless change for change’s sake in comics and the modern equivalent of the TV show Dallas’ infamous “dream season.” In other words, we were all conned.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about such futile exercises in misguided creativity from Mike Mignola and his collaborators, in BPRD - Hell on Earth: Gods. Here, so-called “Crisis”-level events actually do have traction. Has anybody in the Marvel Universe even mentioned in passing the massacre of an entire football stadium full of fans that opened Siege since that event concluded? Not likely in any concrete fashion. In BPRD, the deaths of thousands of everyday folks means something, causing ripples throughout society.

In Hell on Earth, the BPRD, and indeed the entire world, are still struggling to come to grips with the destruction of Houston thanks to the sudden eruption of a volcano in the center of the city. This second issue expands upon the socio-cultural repercussions the sudden displacement of thousands of people has on the most powerful and influential nation on the planet. We learn of an emerging Bedouin class of nomads, who wander the countryside, afraid to remain in urban centers seemingly targeted for cataclysm. It’s a clever and insightful development that builds not only upon the fictional events of the series but on real world catastrophes such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Last issue, Mignola and company introduced us to these Bedouins, describing a new class of society, who are fiercely loyal and insular, struggling to survive ignorant law enforcement officials, hordes of demons erupting from the Houston volcano, and the prying eyes of an intolerant general public. In this issue, we learn why they are so important. Representing the rebirth of a nomadic class of shamans charged with protecting the world from the impending doom of Ogdru Jahad, these are the people who may just hold the future of civilization as we know it in their hands.

In the mad Prof. O’Donnell’s words, “It’s a watershed moment,” for humanity and the only ones prepared for it are these new shamans.

Mignola, Arcudi, and Davis give us our first glimpse of the true size and scope of a crisis-level event that has been developing for years. The Ogdru Jahad aren't just a flash in the pan to be forgotten a season later when the next big evil drags its ass out from the shadows. It’s something that has been percolating slowly over the course of the entire cycle of BPRD stories, dramatically altering the landscape of Mignola’s Hellboy universe and leaving indelible marks on his protagonists and the small folk alike.

The Ogdru Jahad aren't an insidious marketing ploy to sell more comics but an intrinsic part of an overarching plot that shapes and is shaped by the very world they threaten. In short, it’s just damn good storytelling on the creative team’s part and should serve as a lesson to larger, more financially-driven publishers: Don’t do it because you can but because you should.

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