The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense has faced some dire threats over the years, usually following Hellboy’s lead. In this incarnation, the hornless demon seems to have other priorities to handle, as he doesn’t make an appearance; that’s fine the, BPRD perform admirably on their own.
I haven’t read a Hellboy book since The Third Wish, so I really didn’t know what to expect going into this issue. I needn’t have been worried though, with Mignola still at the helm, the theme of the book is just as ominous as I remember from that much earlier story.
In issue #127, the BPRD has just begun to sniff out a monstrosity that’s unfamiliar to everyone but Agent Howards. The setup for the tale is classic Mignola, that is, all the suspense of a good campfire ghost story spread out over 32 pages.
Also, it kind of goes without saying that Harren and Stewart are a great duo for this kind of story; they have a unique way of conceptualizing the supernatural that is at once exciting and foreboding. Check out some of the stuff they’ve done recently with their new series Rumble. Really unmatched stuff.
Well, mostly unmatched. This issue really excels when the action gets going. The battle sequences are brutal, well executed and in no short supply. The last half of the comic is basically one big battle royale, but one that is necessary to express the gravity of the team’s current situation.
One other thing that may be overlooked by the more initiated out there, but that I found quite useful due to my lengthy absence, was the quick blurb at the beginning of the book. Once a mainstay of comics, but conspicuously absent in most books these days, that little series recap really helped me place this issue’s story in a larger context.
Bottomline, you could do worse with $3.50 than spend it on BPRD #127. Don’t do that though; go pick this one up, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll most likely be engaged enough to hang around to see exactly how everything plays out.