In Review: B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #13

This is the final build to the climax and it's unsettling and heroic. Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: As Agent Ted Howards descends he raises his battle sword to smite the creatures before him. This is a fantastic image of one of the most intriguing characters in the B.P.R.D. I love the look of anger on his face and the creatures that surround him look as though they’ve got a better than average chance of taking him down. Given where this series has been going, I really hope that doesn’t happen. I can’t get enough of Agent Howards. The colors on this are also cool with the sedate tans giving this a nocturnal or underground feel. And check out the how the reader’s eyes are drawn to the large creature’s orange eyes which have it looking at the crimson on Howards’s blade. So cool! Excellent work from Mike Mignola with Dave Stewart. Overall grade: A+

The story: West of Albany, New York, the B.P.R.D. discover more Ogdru Hem. They now total three hundred and sixty-nine. Stazz is nervous, but Fenix tries to reassure her that it will be okay because she’s the one that supposed to lead them to safety in a cave. Meanwhile in New York City, Liz, Abe, and Hellboy are making their way through what’s left of the streets to confront Rasputin, the supernatural entity responsible for destroying the Earth. They talk about previous battles, with Hellboy remaining more quiet than usual. Writers Mike Mignola and Scott Allie then move about the world to show how the impending Armageddon is effecting everyone: one character goes to the water to see the sky turn crimson, two agents have a quiet moment before being again attacked, in Africa a Ogdru Hem sets fire to the plains, and in Indiana people crawl into a hole. There are a few other scenes and the reader is left with the feeling that this is truly the end. The B.P.R.D. have a major moment on Page 10 that leads to a major action sequence. There are monsters, there are lives lost, but there’s still hope as the survivors scurry to find shelter from the unavoidable destruction. Page 12 had one character’s final stand and I was glad to see that this was the way this individual chose — heroic. There’s a surprising appearance on 20, as I thought this character had been fully dealt with, but this is the character’s swan song and it gave comfort to one character as all hope seems lost. The book ends with a cliffhanger, the confrontation starting next issue, but another supporting character appears to tell Hellboy that “This is going to hurt.” This is the quiet, if this is considered “quiet” for a B.P.R.D. issue, before the final battle. The characters are now in their positions. The last dance begins next issue. Overall grade: A+

The art: One reason Laurence Campbell’s artwork is so effective on this series is that the elements that one would find in reality are wholly believable. It’s easy to picture certain characters in certain settings as real. However, when the horrific or unthinkable makes their presence visible it’s a shock that elicits gasps. Case in point, the B.P.R.D.’s conveyance may be unusual in its design, but is one that would have a casual reader thinking it’s possible. Then the second panel reveals the airship contrasted next to one of the Ogdru Hem and it’s like a nightmare on the page in its design and size. It’s a terrific fright. New York City in ruins is also a shocker, but three characters casually make their way down the streets to face their destinies. I love the top panel on Page 3 that requires no text, as it’s something Hellboy is recalling. The bottom of that page is also outstanding, but for a more fanciful reason. These characters are essentially part of another world, but even they look frightening with their design and the many eyes that shine in the darkness. The pair of individuals on 4 have a quiet moment that seem out of any war movie, as they’re around a fire in a hollowed out room, complete with a massive hole in the wall that an elephant could fit through. It gives the reader a moment to consider that all will be well, and then the monstrosities arrive. Their hellish design will jolt the reader and marks a visual end to the peace that existed before their arrival. The Africa sequence starts beautifully as two people and three animals stand on a hill, but a turn of the page shows the behemoth before them that’s setting fire to their world. Great contrasts. The thing in Lake Talutah is fantastic looking. The action on 10 is great with the third panel being a rally moment for the characters and the reader. The looks exchanged at the bottom of 11 communicate so much without text that the reader will know what’s going to occur on the next page. The fists clenched moment on 12 is outstanding. Pages 13 – 18 is absolutely chaotic as the characters try to reach a destination. Campbell makes it seem impossible for the characters with their emotions increasing the tension and their plight. Fenix is a major standout character on these pages, which makes the appearance on 19 all the more surprising. The third panel on the final page is a heartbreaker as one character realizes that this is the end. There’s so much emotion in that panel. The final image of the book, though, will have readers unable to exhale until the next chapter. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Dave Stewart is also a master of his craft, with the colors leading the reader to all the important places in a panel. The red skies that open this book instantly inform the reader of the disaster that’s befallen the world. The tainted orange multiple eyes of the Ogdru Hem draw the reader to the creature and its massive form. Look in the final panel on the page how cool greens pull the reader to focus on the pair of characters before it. The sky of New York City is a muddy green, evoking a sense of sickness. The oranges and reds atop 3 are hellish, rightfully so. Africa appears beautiful in its reds and browns, but becomes horrific with the turn of a page as reds, oranges, and yellows appear. The large action sequence of the book is intensified by the red skies. The sounds of the creatures attacking the humans are in eerie greens, oranges, and yellows. The faded gray-violet on 20 makes the character stand out on the page. I’m glad to see the orange in the last panel of the book, because it signifies that someone is ready to fight. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, sounds, yells, and screams are brought to life by the superb Clem Robins. There’s a slight difference in the fonts between scene settings and dialogue, which I always consider to be the sign of a strong letterer. The yells and screams are in a thicker font than the dialogue so the reader knows this speech should be read louder than the dialogue. The sounds continue to be Robins’ forte, with there being several different sounds that make the action sequence of the book exciting. I especially love the RONKs and CHOKs. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the final build to the climax and it’s unsettling and heroic. The reader can feel the hope and despair of the characters and they face their fears. I was shocked and warmed by the story, while the visuals made each horror visceral. You have to read this book before the end arrives. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order a print copy go to https://www.tfaw.com/Comics/Profile/B.P.R.D.%3A-The-Devil-You-Know-13___592097

To order a digital copy go to https://digital.darkhorse.com/books/4cea9abf119747b4bdfd4736a08c0bf3/bprd-the-devil-you-know-13?utm_source=dh&utm_medium=referrer&utm_campaign=profile&utm_term=on+sale&utm_content=B.P.R.D.%3A+The+Devil+You+Know+%2313

To see the cover visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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