Supernatural-horror-crime-drama is a mouthful to say, but if you’re in a hurry, you could always abbreviate it with the single word the genre has become known for: Hellboy. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, you could even abbreviate it in four letters.
B.P.R.D is a nice little spin-off from the pages of Hellboy that creator Mike Mignola has been playing with for a little while now. The current arc, The Long Death, and is pretty par for the course in terms of following trends in the Hellboy series. That’s not to say that it’s poor or in want of uniqueness, but rather it’s more of the same great writing Hellboy fans are accustomed to.
As the second issue in a three issue miniseries, the action is already well-developed. Some of the key characters of the series, such as Abe Sapien, sit on the bench this go around, but the book suffers little and instead focuses on the cold and calculating Johann Kraus. Kraus is deep enough to provide plenty of conflict early on to keep the story going, at first with one of his teammates and later with the arch’s main antagonist, with the latter yielding the juicy supernatural action Hellboy fans are used to.
Fans of the series already know just how colorful the characters in this book can be, and this is really no exception. Like I said, Kraus has all the traits to be a great centerpiece for an arch like this and it’s fun to see him being used in that fashion. The story’s bad boy, Daimio, is a stark contrast to Kraus, not only in behavior but also physical ability and form. This makes for a pretty awesome face-off at the end of the book, which ends off with a tease that there’s plenty more in the arc’s finale in #3.
The layout is decent enough but doesn’t particularly catch much attention. That’s not to say that the work put into it is at all lackluster, but it does the job. The real winner here is the art though. James Harren continues to do a spectacular job with this comic, which really shines when things get icky; the bloody leftovers from Daimio’s fights are about as graphic and detailed as they come, culminating in this particular comic with the explosive altercation between Kraus and Daimio.
At the end of the day, even if you are or are not a big Hellboy fan, anyone should be able to enjoy this book as a comic fan. The characters are fairly complex and very interesting, but don’t require a very deep understanding of the Hellboy universe to get or love; anyone that reads this comic will quickly understand that. And say by some off chance you’re not into the awesome characters or well written dialogue, then I’m sure the pretty (albeit very….red) art will be enough to keep your eyes wandering onward to the next page. Just a solid title all around.