So, I've been a fan of Hellboy & the B.P.R.D. since back when they were the same book. I've followed all the spin-offs - Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, Witchfinder, the stuff in the 1940s, etc. Hell, I've even followed the non-canonical stuff like Hellboy, Jr., Itty Bitty Hellboy, and the Amazing Screw-On Head. I've even read the novels!
(First rule of Hellboy novels: the anthologies are better, Second rule of Hellboy novels: ignore anything not written by Christopher Golden, Third and final rule of Hellboy novels: Golden's only good Hellboy novel is The Bones of Giants
So, state of the 'verse:
Hellboy is dead, and went down to Hell. Honestly, this wasn't quite as good as I was hoping for it to be. I liked the stitch-in with Sir Edward Grey, since it means that loose plot element is finally tying together. Movement on this front is fairly glacial, but I think that's because Mignola has Big Plans and wants to keep room for other stuff to happen between Hellboy punching out gods of the Abyss or whatnot. I want more Mignola/Corben stuff with Hellboy in Mexico, maybe something with a werejaguar.
I can't believe I have to spoiler-tag this, because seriously there's an entire mini called Hellboy in Hell. How did you think he got there? A blazing motorcycle down a road of bone dust and night-black asphalt called "Good Intentions Highway, Route 616"?
B.P.R.D. has kind of gone off the rails. It's Armageddon, the team is broken, and a lot of the early promise of the series seems to have gone. A lot of good characters are dead, and not always for good reasons, and the replacement characters aren't really doing it for me. Ben Damio, damn. Still, it might all tie together. I do like the bit where the vampires are taken about by the whole end-of-the-world thing, and the return of the Black Flame was unexpected and very cool. The new guy with the sword might be interesting though. Honestly, I'd like to see more "unique" agents come out of the woodwork and do some traditional B.P.R.D. thing. Maybe that's what the upcoming trip to New York will all be about.
B.P.R.D. 1940s on the other hand continues with relatively tight storylines that don't feel too forced, while feeding into little bits and pieces of things we've seen before. I think it's important to contrast the 1940s BPRD with the contemporary BPRD - they're both fighting wars, and you can feel and see that, but the 1940s is a little cleaner, the monsters a little more human, the mysteries more oldschool. This also applies to Rocket 44, which made me interested to see how they got the Vril Suit back in action.
Abe Sapien is wandering off because...I dunno. I get that maybe he's disoriented with getting shot and transforming further, and I get that Mignola is building him up for the whole New Race of Man stuff, but I don't know if this walk in the wilderness is really doing anything for me so far. It's interesting that of all of Mignola's characters, Hellboy has stayed the most the same and Abe Sapien has gone through the most dramatic changes. I mean, you can kill Hellboy and he's still Hellboy whereever he goes, but it seems like every thirty or forty issues Abe needs to find himself or get reinvented or something.
Lobster Johnson one-shots and short-series are a current favorite, maybe because at the moment it's the only Mignolaverse title with anything really approaching a hero doing heroic things; the ultra-pulpy feel really helps. The sad part is, we pretty much know how this is going to end...but the ride getting there should be pretty damn fun.
Witchfinder appears mostly on hiatus, though I'm sure there are tales yet to be told.
Itty-Bitty Hellboy - eh. I'm not immune to all-ages Hellboy shenanigans, but seeing this makes me realize how much I miss Roger. Talk about losing the heart and soul of the team.