Monday, February 15, 2010

B.P.R.D. King of Fear #1 - Guest Review by Simon Breeze

I'm delighted to present another contribution to Escape from Tomorrow from one of my favourite artists and writers Simon Breeze.

B.P.R.D. - King of Fear #1

Written by Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artwork by Guy Davis & Mike Mignola with colours by Dave Stewart and letters by Clem Robins

The B.P.R.D or the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence (in case you were wondering), are a fictional organization from the creator of Hellboy, Mike Mignola. The B.P.R.D. protect the world (from their base of operations in America) from the paranormal and supernatural and employ several team members who would fall under this category, including the aforementioned Hellboy.

Story synopsis from the Dark Horse Comics site:

‘After the defeat of the mystic Memnan Saa, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense - on the outs with the United States government after the bloodstained rescue of Liz Sherman - embarks to the Ural Mountains, the site of B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth, to put the frog menace to rest once and for all.

Meanwhile, Kate Corrigan heads to Hunte Castle in Austria, where Hellboy killed the Conqueror Worm, on her own rescue mission - to save ectoplasmic special agent Johann Kraus, possessed by the ghost of Lobster Johnson.’


First of all, I’m going to say that this issue is by no means a ‘jump-on’ point to the worlds of either Hellboy or the B.P.R.D. It is an issue #1 of a story arc set in the Hellboy universe, and that is the key. There is no provision made for anyone who has never read any Hellboy or B.P.R.D. before. To be upfront about it, there is no pretence to say otherwise either.

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi's writing is flawless throughout this first issue - although I admit I’m not up to speed with the current events in the Hellboy universe, it didn’t take me long to get into the swing of things. Already there are two or three strong stories developing within this issue that make me want to know more by the time we reach the cliff-hanger ending. The story is also none the weaker for the absence of Hellboy from the team either; the other members are more then strong enough characters to carry their own title.

As for the art, Mike Mignola’s cover is awesome; his stylised art is something I have always admired. The interior art is the handywork of Guy Davis, another stylised comic artist whose work is really great and not out of place on the pages of this comic. To digress for just a second, as an added bonus for me as a reader of the Judge Dredd Megazine, Guy Davis has drawn a one-off Judge Dredd story for writer Rob Williams for the upcoming issue of the Megazine #296, entitled ‘Out Law’ - on sale at the end of March and one to look forward to.

If there is anything wrong with this comic I can’t find it, I was drawn in and engaged within the first two thought bubbles of panel one, page one:

A head and shoulders view of Liz Sherman sat in a boardroom looking lost in thought.

Thought-bubble #1, Liz Sherman: A whole battalion of men. A battalion and armoured complement.

Thought-bubble #2, Liz Sherman: just GONE.

Oddly as much as I enjoy the character of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., I own and have read very little, however with this title I feel that could change. If you like paranormal and supernatural based comics, you can’t go wrong with B.P.R.D. King of Fear - just bear in mind you will probably need to have some knowledge of the Hellboy universe before taking the plunge, otherwise the story could, initially at least, be tough going.

As always, my sincere thanks to Simon for another great contribution. Remember, you can find Simon's work on his
deviantArt site as well as his work and family blog. This weekend Simon has posted his latest work, a simply stunning image of the Marvel character Black Cat.