The B.P.R.D. The Devil You Know #12
The dwindling remnants of the B.P.R.D have gathered in the helicarrier to watch the world spin off into destruction as monsters of increasing size and destructive capability rise up from the depths to devour whatever remains of earth’s crumbling cities.
The storytelling was a little muddled in this issue, at least at first. This chapter opens (and closes) in a cemetery where a drunken man waits for his long-dead love before being interrupted; first by a thunderstorm and then by some deeply-melancholic vampires. Following this, we see scenes of great destruction as Elder Gods of increasing size (and swelling appetite) rise up from the seas to devour the coasts.
In the midst of this turmoil, an assistant B.P.R.D officer discovers that he is the next link in the chain of command (this scene added a touch of levity to an ink-black plot) and Hellboy receives a postmortem communique from Ed Grey (who spent his life absorbing evil in the hopes that he could slay The Dragon at the end of time) outlining a series of possible underground ‘safe shelters’ for the surviving human population to crouch in while the Children of Broom seek out whom they must destroy.
As I said, the plot of the issue was a little muddled, especially when you consider that this is only the second issue after the prolonged break between chapters ten and eleven, but the dialogue was very good and the page layout was aesthetically pleasing. The exchange between Liz and Fenix (the older woman’s anger at the girl for attempting to murder Abe; the girl’s sorrow and confusion at what she’d done) was very well-presented. Laurence Campbell’s artistic style is absolutely mesmerizing — especially when it is strengthened by Dave Stewart’s colours. I am increasingly certain that Dave Stewart is the best colourist currently working in comics.
Panel by panel, the art was extremely nuanced and atmospheric. Scenes of brutal violence alternated with personal moments that were often surprisingly tender. Over all, the issue was highly effective for what it is: a wind-up to the final, long-awaited showdown before the end of the world.
All the signs and portents have been read, the population of the earth is dwindling, and the dragons are rising from the depths. There's nothing left to do but sit back and wait for the end of the world. The final cycle of stories in the Mignolaverse are rapidly ramping up for their certain-to-be-bloody conclusion. Luckily there's room for humour --and a touch of tenderness -- amidst all of the destruction. This series is a lot of mythic fun.
The B.P.R.D. The Devil You Know #12: Mere Anarchy
Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 9.5/109.5/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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