I’ll admit that if “B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth” wasn’t a part of Dark Horse’s Mignolaverse, I probably wouldn’t be picking up the series, which currently follows Hellboy’s former teammates at the B.P.R.D. while the Earth is being overrun by monsters. The series is generally a decent read with impressive characterization, but the story just moves so so so sooooooooooo slowly (probably because Dark Horse is waiting for shit to happen in “Hellboy”).

I basically just follow the series to stay up-to-date with the “Hellboy” universe, but I have to admit that issue #131 really blew me away (pun intended if you’ve read the issue). This issue is, I believe, part 2 of a 3 part arc, but I think it could essentially be read as a standalone. The issue is, for me, about the gap between the cold tactics of warfare and the associated human cost, in a world where a disembodied entity can take over a fallen soldier and continue the fight. This issue is a great wartime horror comic with great characterization, I just wish the series as a whole would move along with the overall story more quickly — the series is starting to feel only like a placeholder between “Hellboy” comics.

P.S. It’s a pet peeve of mine when comic book covers don’t match the content of the comic book interiors, and this pet peeve can be extended to recap pages that aren’t all that necessary to the comic they are in — the recap included in this issue, with info about “the Black Flame”, seems extraneous and doesn’t really give the reader any added context for this issue. The editors could have cut out 3/4ths of the recap for this issue.

P.S.S. The recap talks about the villainous “the Black Flame” who was destroyed and the current resurrection “of a new and even more powerful Black Flame” — this reminds me of the old “Star Wars” joke that the Empire (and by extension George Lucas) couldn’t come up with anything more original to do in “Return of the Jedi” than to rehash an old idea and build a second Death Star.

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