Iann Robinson Reviews B.P.R.D.: KING OF FEAR #4

I hate to be the one to say this but I’m really starting to prefer the B.P.R.D. stuff to anything going on with Hellboy alone. The scripts tend to be darker, the characters more fully realized and the story arcs much more involved. This week’s release of B.P.R.D. King Of Fear #4 brings readers one-step closer to the end of the Scorched Earth trilogy series that started with “The Warning” and continued through “The Black Goddess”. King Of Fear is a classic example of why B.P.R.D. kicks so much ass and issue #4 brings about key revelations that will push the series into the future. I don’t mean good revelations either, remember this isn’t Marvel or DC. In the B.P.R.D. universe things get fucked up and stay that way.

Issue #4 opens with Abe Sapien being forced to confront the truth about himself and the frog monsters as well as Liz being shown a dark future for the B.P.R.D. To delve too deeply into the story would be to ruin the surprise and it’s not even really what makes the issue so good. The real strength behind King Of Fear #4 is the writing shared by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. Both men have not only a strong grasp of dialog but also of dramatic tension.

For instance in recent issues Liz have been very standoffish, almost cold to the members of her group who love her. As she’s shown her new vision of the B.P.R.D. the truth of how much Liz needs the group becomes incredibly evident. The best part of that is it goes unsaid; it’s not spelled out for you but rather a feeling woven in-between the words themselves. Mignola and Arcudi excel at not just holding you with what’s going on but also using feelings and emotions inferred in each panel to drive their point home.

Backing up the writing is the art from Guy Davis who nails the style Mike Mignola made famous but not without adding his own touches. Davis has a really great eye for creating epic pencils not just in splash pages but within the individual panels. For instance during Liz’s vision of the B.P.R.D. the scope of what Davis draws really impressed upon me how devastating to Liz the images were. There’s a great shot of Liz is digging through old pictures that sums up the turmoil within her but in a really quiet subtle way.

With each panel Davis manages to put in a small work of art when seen altogether creates the lavish and other world vibe all the B.P.R.D. books are famous for. The combination of the script and pencils creates a fantasy world strongly based in reality, which is why you can identify with it. Colorist Dave Stewart also does a fantastic job of bringing certain richness to Davis’s work without overshadowing it.

With King Of Fear nearing conclusion it’s obvious that massive changes are ahead for the B.P.R.D. The adventures of the group are far from over but that doesn’t mean characters and events won’t shift or be removed entirely. Whatever happens in the future if the art and writing for B.P.R.D. stay this good I’m in!!


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