By Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, James Harren & Dave Stewart
Well, fellow Mignolaverse freaks, the time is here! B.P.R.D. #115 hit shops today and that means the beginning of the Reign of the Black Flame arc. Not only has the Bureau finally sent the major teams to New York, but the title of this arc speaks for itself regarding other big things to come in the Hellboy universe.
It is an amazing time to be a fan of B.P.R.D. as every arc has been terrific this past year, with each issue better than the last. The latest installment was an incredible read filled with excitement, suspense, action, and intrigue. Two teams have been dispatched to New York on a fact-finding mission; one led by Johann, Liz, and Fenix entering from Brooklyn, the other led by Nichayko and Agent Carla entering from New Jersey. The latter team has Agent Howards in tow and fans have been dying to see him in action again since the Abyss of Time story arc many months ago. Issue #115 felt like a sleek action film as each team navigates abandoned streets, dark sewers, and huge monsters. The transitions between the present and the mission briefing flashback were perfectly executed through excellently timed dialogue. It was also really cool to have the story alternate between the two separate teams, which kept things varied and exciting. This issue was particularly dynamic, even compared to previous installments of this fantastic series; definitely a great start to what is sure to be an incredible arc.
As for the artwork, all of the talented artists who contribute to the many titles within the Mignolaverse do terrific work. However, James Harren is a personal favorite. The illustrations this guy does bring so much life to the world of B.P.R.D., it’s a shame we don’t see his work more often. Fellow Conan fans may remember he contributed to an early story arc in Brian Wood’s excellent run, which were probably the best visuals in the series. Everything in B.P.R.D., from characters to environment look more detailed with Harren at the helm. The illustrations have a subtle grittiness that pervades every panel, while still appearing full and vibrant. This is, of course, in part due to Dave Stewart’s uncanny ability to emphasize any artists’ strong points and fully complement their individual style in every way. As always, he does an impeccable job coloring the latest installment in Hell on Earth. Also, it has to be said: Agent Howards looked so damn bad ass skulking in the shadows with the ancient Hyperborean blade as he kept a defensive perimeter for his team in the sewers.
If you’re a current fan of B.P.R.D., you know this is an issue to be excited for. For anyone who maybe hasn’t read the series in a while, come back now! This is going to be an epic story arc, and one of the best Mignolaverse artists ever is on board. Issue #115 was well paced and exciting but things are gonna keep getting crazier in the next few months!