BPRD: Hollow Earth & Other Stories
The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is the quasi-governmental investigative group that Hellboy works for, but this book focuses on his supporting cast: Liz Sherman, a firestarter; Abe Sapien, a fish-man; Roger, a homunculus; and Kate Corrigan, the group’s leader. She’s trying to hold the team together in the wake of Hellboy’s departure and a general sense of mistrust.
Liz has sought refuge in a remote monastery, seeking greater control of her power. When Abe receives a disturbing vision of her, the team sets out to find out what’s happened. The group winds up investigating an underworld full of trolls, mysterious machines, and of course, Nazi relics.
They’ve already lost one friend, if only temporarily; they’re motivated not to lose another. Flashbacks show the characters’ first encounters with Hellboy and how much he cared for them, but relationships are complicated by the introduction of a new member: Johann Kraus is a medium without a body living in a containment suit.
Ryan Sook’s art maintains the angular look of Mike Mignola’s style with more detail and delicacy. The character insights are nicely intertwined with the action sequences, providing meaning while keeping the pace moving.
The book also contains two short stories, one focusing on Abe and Roger and the other introducing Lobster Johnson, a costumed investigator in the 1930s. They’re followed by a longer story with Abe investigating a ship-bound possessive ghost.
Team adventures with the quirky group of paranormal investigators make for a different approach than the Hellboy-focused stories, but they’re just as involving.
There are preview pages available at the publisher’s website.