Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: BPRD Hell on Earth Vol. 2 - Gods and Monsters

Review: BPRD Hell on Earth Vol. 2 - Gods and Monsters
from Dark Horse
On Sale February 1, 2012

It’s actually a challenge to find really good modern fantasy. That’s why UFN wanders, sometimes, into parallel universes, to find and report on things outside the norm, that isn’t what everybody else is reporting on.

This time, however, we don’t have to go any farther than the upcoming trade graphic novel from Dark Horse, BPRD Hell on Earth Vol. 2 - Gods and Monsters.

The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, as most comic book fans know, is the agency that Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, etc. work for and with to protect America (and, really, the world) from supernatural threats. This volume’s lead story arc involves Abe and a teen girl on the run with other “nomads,” and this particular teen can see the future. It’s a handy skill to have when you need to keep a large group of people out of danger, but it’s not without its risks. The second half of the volume covers the curious tale of a grisly trailer park cult and focuses on Liz.

The art is not my favorite style, but the writing, and especially the dialog, is superb. People speak how people would actually speak. Events and interactions make sense. The story unfurls at a pace that doesn’t have me reading and re-reading every other page to try and figure out what’s going on (unlike some other books that I won’t mention here). The characters, even the bad guys, are enjoyable, interesting and compelling. I was hoping to see more of Hellboy (or any Hellboy, he doesn't appear in this volume) and Panya, but maybe next time.

BPRD is the perfect kind of tale for UFN, because it’s well-written urban fantasy that’s honest, gritty and clever. If you haven’t given these titles a look, please do, even if it’s at your local library. Chances are, you’ll be hooked.

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