BPRD: Hell on Earth: Gods #3

BPRD Hell on Earth Gods #3 cover

I would expect an issue labeled “#3 of 3″ to serve as some kind of conclusion, so imagine my surprise when the last page ends “Continued”. I know there’s an ongoing story with the team, but this didn’t even minimally satisfy as an ending to this particular chapter.

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, so I was looking forward to catching up with the team. The cast has changed over, most obviously with the departure of firestarter Liz Sherman, but I could understand giving the spotlight to less well-known characters in order to give the writers more leeway. Unfortunately, although this miniseries promises the introduction of a “pivotal new character”, I didn’t get much sense of her as a person. Instead, she’s a mysterious force, a leader of ragtag runaways whose last pivotal action I was flummoxed by. I had no idea why she did what she did — other than to provide a cliffhanger in lieu of a conclusion.

Much of this issue is battle, which isn’t what I read adventure comics for. (Others may differ, especially when it comes to Mignola’s imaginative, art-driven franchise.) Sure, it’s interesting to see what kind of giant creature Guy Davis has come up with this time, but page after page of shooting at it feels like a waste. Disappointing — if this had been a good read, I would have caught up on the BPRD collections I was missing, but this tells me I wasn’t missing anything. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)


7 Responses to “BPRD: Hell on Earth: Gods #3”

  1. Bob Says:

    If you had been following BPRD, you’d know there was a lot more in play than you think in this issue. Also, it was the “Gods and Monsters” arc that would introduce Fenix, not just Gods. It’s basically a single mini split in two to allow for a three month break to lighten the load on the artist (who is now sadly leaving BPRD). The same thing happened with Hellboy “The Storm and the Fury”. It got divided into two smaller minis.
    Previously they did the same thing with “The Wild Hunt”. It was split in two, but each part didn’t have separate names. This got people angry, so in future when they divide a story each half is given a title of its own. People seem to complain less about the wait this way.
    While it may confuse casual readers like yourself, no actual fan of BPRD was expecting any kind of resolution in Gods #3. Keep in mind, BPRD is not made for casual readers. If you feel like giving it another chance, go back to where you left off, don’t jump on the most recent issue. It’s just a waste of your time.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Thank you for putting that in context. I hadn’t heard that this was only part one of the eventual full mini. I wish it had been labeled #3 of 6 (or whatever) instead of 3 of 3 — my expectations would have been a lot different.

    I also didn’t realize that the story was being written for fans only at this point. I thought the stories would be a lot more stand-alone than they apparently are. I appreciate the guidance.

  3. Bob Says:

    It’s a shame it isn’t more friendly to casual readers, especially after that whole push done by marketing that “Hell on Earth” would be a great jumping on point. Unfortunatley the only real jumping on point is the beginning. Or the “BPRD: Plague of Frogs” miniseries at the latest.
    You can still find a lot of stand alone stories in Hellboy though, but they’re usually one shots, not miniseries.

  4. Ralf Haring Says:

    Hmm, last March already? Dark Horse is lagging a bit on the collections (how I read the series).

    Castigating people for not being true fans seems counterproductive. It’s very true the Gods miniseries serves more as an interstitial chapter than as a standalone story. BPRD as a whole has been trending that way for a while. Plague of Frogs (v3) through King of Fear (v14) told individual stories but were also a slow burn to big changes in that last volume. This new set of collections (Hell on Earth) is a big shift stylistically since the underground world of the BPRD’s investigations is now solidly above ground, taking place in a world that is less and less like the real world. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is no longer a book they investigate X-Files type supernatural mysteries on the fringes of society.

    I have no idea how Dark Horse marketed this series in conjunction with the Monsters one that follows, but if they sold them as being even remotely related that was a mistake. The Monsters issues do not continue the story from Gods in any way, focusing solely on Liz in a completely different setting. It’s a strange situation to be in, the individual miniseries are no longer really attempting standalone stories but there are frequent extended diversions to other strands of the story. In a novel you wouldn’t really blink twice if the author took a few chapters to follow one thread and ignored another for a while, but if this was sold as an ongoing series it would seem somewhat strange to do that. I think they’d ultimately be better served having made it an ongoing series at this point.

    It’s a shame to see Guy Davis leave the book after doing so much solid work over the course of the series. He even helped turn the supposed spin-off into the one I looked forward to reading more than Mignola’s own Hellboy ones. From the notes and art in the back of the collection it seems like he left abruptly. Some of the mock-ups of the Monsters covers are shown with his name in the credits list.

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  7. Bob Says:

    @Ralf Haring regarding, “I have no idea how Dark Horse marketed this series in conjunction with the Monsters one that follows, but if they sold them as being even remotely related that was a mistake.”

    Yeah, that was my misunderstanding. It seems that the second half they were referring to is “The Devil’s Engine” starting in April.




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