In Review: B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know #9

The heroes are now in New York and they're hit with flying hellions.

The cover: Hellboy, Abe Sapien, and Agent Ted Howards are engulfed in a swarm of flying demons. The child sized monsters attempt to tear the trio apart, but they’ve tangled with the wrong heroes. Hellboy is in the center, Howards is in the background, pulled into the air by the creatures, and Abe just barely peeks out from the bottom as he delivers a killing blow to one of the monsters. The colors are also well done, with that mustard orange cover allowing the dark crimsons of demons and Hellboy to draw the reader’s eyes. Great action cover by Max Fiumara with Dave Stewart. This scene actually appears in this issue and it’s only the start of this issue’s action. Overall grade: A

The story: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie’s story opens at the edge of New York City as flying demons begin to swarm to the B.P.R.D.’s ship. Hellboy knows this is going to be just the start of their troubles, but psychic Fenix seems as though something isn’t right. The demons slam into the ship, doing minor damage, as outside Grand Central Terminal a statue begins to weep blood. Within this structure Varvara looks upon all the humans who have become crusty zombie-like creatures. She raises her arms and the doomed humans begin to cough and wings sprout from their backs so that they may join their damned brethren in the battle. Hellboy asks if he can get on the hull of the ship to fight the creatures, which inspires Liz who speeds outside. Howards and Hellboy follow. Outside the sky is littered with the creatures and the trio do what they can to take them down. Unfortunately a much more powerful creature has accompanied the creatures. There’s a dramatic action on 10 and 11 that’s neat, a great realization on 13 that has one character trying to convince the others that her knowledge is the right course of action, and a powerful moment on 18. The last three pages of the book have some quiet time as the survivors make their way down a street and I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen, and it does. This moment was telegraphed on Page 19, but why this is so important to Varvara isn’t explained in this issue. I’m worried what this loss will mean for the team, as well as for humanity. That’s the thing about this series, you’re not just worried about the characters, you’re worried about the human race. This was a thrilling and sad chapter of this saga. Overall grade: A

The art: The first panel of the book shows the reader that the heroes are about to be overrun by the flying demons, with a desolate New York skyline as the setting. Laurence Campbell then moves into the ship, with everyone almost in silhouette before an exhaustive display of video screens showing their surroundings. I like how Fenix is singled out by being in the foreground and not looking at the flock from Hell that’s headed their way. The final panel on the page shows Hellboy in the center stating the obvious, but it’s a terrific visual that shows the reader how much the other characters value his opinion. The creatures attack on the second page and then the story moves to Varvara and her new minions. The transformation atop Page 3 is quick, but I like how it looks painful to those enduring it, showing that nothing goes easily for anyone in this story. The exit on Page 4 made my heart soar and the action in the fourth panel cemented my love of this character. Notice how casually the pair are leaving the setting in the bottom panel on the page, showing that there’s no need to hurry into danger. The action is frantic outside, with creatures everywhere and speed lines to show the tumultuous nature of where the protagonists have gone. The surprise villain that appears has got a terrific design and I love its fate. The action that goes across the top of Pages 10 and 11 is wonderful and the panels that follow show that neither side is slowing down. The overwhelming nature of the inevitable is perfectly rendered on 13. The things that appear at the top of 16 are new to me and they were freakish horrors. The bottom of 19, though from a distance, shows how casually Varvara is taking this battle — such a cool visual touch. The most shocking illustration of the issue comes on the final page, with the heroes’ reactions awesome. Campbell is nailing the right tone and creating fantastic illustrations to tell this tale. Overall grade: A

The colors: Dave Stewart shows he’s an awesome colorist with the use of red and orange to show how the world is literally going to hell. The skies of New York are full of these colors, with the flying creatures a dark crimson with yellow eyes. The colors are almost overwhelming, even in the second panel on the B.P.R.D.’s screens, though Fenix is the one bright spot in her yellow sweater. Notice how Hellboy is a cooler shade of red when a panel spotlights his face. The sound effects in this issue get some cool colors, with several on display at the top of Page 3. I really like the colors on 13, capturing the inferno the heroes must venture into. 16 has the best coloring of the issue for the sickly flesh of those that begin the page and the wonderfully colored sounds and the gloriously horrific sky. Overall grade: A

The letters: This issue’s contributions from Clem Robins include scene settings, sounds, dialogue, whispered dialogue, and yells. There are several really cools sounds in this issue, with the SKREEKs and CHIs being my favorites. The whispered dialogue of the issue is small, but still easily read, pulling the reader in closer to the page to experience the intensity of the emotions in the panels. Yells are big, as they should be, but not so over the top as to come off as cliché to the reader. Overall grade: A

The final line: The heroes are now in New York and they’re hit with flying hellions. Great characters try to survive death of all kinds in this great issue. The visuals are excellent, making anything thrown at the heroes believable. The march to the end has begun in earnest. Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://digital.darkhorse.com/books/2cd2b7f4e5e24e4b9739e1f67f7b7baf/bprd-the-devil-you-know-9

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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