In Review: B.P.R.D. #114
The cover: Crazy Dr. Clyburn stands torch in hand to highlight the maniacal look on his face, plus his creations that lurking behind him. Rafael Albuquerque has created a fantastically frightening image with some spectacular coloring. I love Clyburn’s sick look, making him a modern day Renfield. The bright yellow coming of the torch highlights his face wonderfully, and brightens up his created horrors. The creature on the left is spectacular, and the one on the right, though barely clear, wears a jacket, telling the reader it was once human. A perfect cover. Overall grade: A+
The story: I’ve waited a few years for this issue to happen! Having escaped from the hospital where Clyburn has been making monsters, Liz goes back in with a few police officers to rescue the dozens of patients that the mad doctor may have left untouched by his experiments. Clyburn watches the heroes enter, telling an oddly shaped form he shares the room with, “…it would have been so much better if she hadn’t (been coming back for you).” The entrance in makes the officers overly confident, until the guard on duty quickly morphs into a monster and others of its ilk storm the room. This tale, by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, is one of redemption for Liz Sherman, who’s been unable and/or unwilling to use her firestarting abilities for some time. She’s back on the offensive to save her roommate Andrea. It’s a major battle with an incredible ending, and it’s been a long time coming. Interrupting Liz’s tale is a quick showing of a newsfeed, as well as more continual tease that the next mission of the B.P.R.D. will be to go to New York City. Pages 16 – 21 gave me the payoff I’ve been wanting, and 22 gave me the final piece before New York. We’ve had a lot of little adventures since the Black Flame, or something wearing his/its skin, returned and the Big Apple looks to be the next major move by all sides. Let’s go! Overall grade: A+
The art: Terrific work on every page by Tyler Crook. He does great humans and his monsters are stellar. I love his Clyburn, who is the spookiest human we’ve seen in a Hellboy book in some time. The monster that’s revealed on Page 3 seems straight out of John Carpenter’s The Thing, and the pacing Crook puts into it’s reveal is the perfect build for the horrific punch line. I also fell in love with Liz again, who’s doing a great Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which makes sense, as this story is her Judgment Day. The five pages showing her confrontation with Clyburn are going to be a classic with fans. Page 19 was the highlight of the book. I smiled as big as the character did in the final panel. Thank you, Mr. Crook for this moment. It’s perfection on every page. Overall grade: A+
The colors: Dave Stewart provides some great coloring in this book, with Liz’s red hair making her stand out on every panel she’s in, the bright orange backgrounds when the action goes hard core, the wonderful smear of patriotism in the newsfeed’s background, and the eyes on Page 13 told me exactly what was going to happen. So cool! Overall grade: A+
The letters: FWOOOOOOOSH is the highlight sound effect by Clem Robins who provides many other appropriate noises, as well as a lot of dialogue and bit of narration. It looks good. Overall grade: A+
The final line: I don’t know how this will resonate with first time readers, but for those who’ve been following Liz’s journey for a few years, Christmas came a week early. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years. He’s since moved to a high school where he’s taught 9th grade and currently teaches 10th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star War or Indiana Jones items online.