By Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Tyler Crook, & Dave Stewart
The flagship Mignolaverse title, B.P.R.D., has been in a bit of a lull for a couple of issues. The current Lake of Fire arc has seen some interesting developments, but overall wasn’t as exciting as originally hoped. The latest issue in this series changes all of that, as Mignola and company deliver one of the best issues of B.P.R.D. yet.
If issue #113 can be summed up in one word it would probably be “satisfying.” This latest installment finally pushed the protagonists to the psychological places they need to be in order to really start dealing with the events of Hell on Earth. Each of these major developments was executed in a very powerful and exciting way making the whole issue a ton of fun. Fenix is gaining more insight into her psychic interruptions while also becoming much more self-confident and pro-active in her actions, the last of which closes the issue and was an awesome start to her newfound attitude. Johann and Kate are also starting to put together Zinco’s role in the apocalypse, as Mignola and Arcudi treat us to some exciting allusion to the upcoming arc which will take the agents to New York. Within this scene we also finally see more of Howards as an ancient monster slayer, which fans loved in the Abyss of Time arc. By far one of the most highly anticipated developments which finally occurred in issue #113 was the return of Liz Sherman to top pyrokinetic form as she aids a few clueless officers in dispatching with a large beast. There was so much going on in this book, yet all of it has been highly anticipated over previous installments, and the entire issue was executed with perfection. B.P.R.D. is typically a relatively slow-moving plot, which is not a bad thing given how well-organized the series is. However, it was very exciting to have so much great stuff happen in a single book. Every piece of the story had a ton of impact and very satisfying wrap up.
Tyler Crook returns on art duties, and this guy has certainly become a staple-artist for the B.P.R.D. books. Characters look better than ever, and the action is well-detailed, particularly the more grotesque and gory scenes. Some of the best visuals are again taken from images of Howards as an ancient Hyperborean hacking through swathes of monsters; this stuff is so epic and really deserves another arc or even its own mini-series. One of the greatest visual treats in B.P.R.D. #113 was during the transitions from Howards sitting in the agency mess hall to the ancient monster slayer; a silhouette of a Hyperborean with blade in hand can be seen reflected in Howards’ eye prior to the transition, while a similar glimmer of Howards in the mess hall is shown in the Hyperborean’s eye as the scene moves back to present day. Dave Stewart, while a long-time collaborator in Mignola books, manages to up his game again in this latest installment. His work is incredibly consistent and, at times, more vibrant than usual.
There was too much in B.P.R.D. #113 to discuss in a single review. If you’re following the Mignolaverse at all, this is an issue you definitely don’t want to miss. I can’t remember the last time the overall Hell on Earth saga was pushed forward in such a tangible and wide-ranging way within the confines of a single issue, and all of it was done in a very exciting and satisfying manner. The team hit all the right notes this month.