Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

[Spoilers]State of the Mignolaverse

124»

Posts

  • chiasaur11chiasaur11 Never doubt a raccoon. Registered User regular
    I'd started to feel less enthused about the Mignola-verse a while back. The apocalyptic atmosphere of BPRD/Abe was beginning to drag as it all started to feel so hopeless. Hellboy in Hell was a little too obscure and plot light for me. Even 1952 seemed a little been there, done that.

    Today I picked up Frankenstein Underground and, Wow. Now that's what I'm on board the Mignola-verse for! A perfect mix of plot to action and for once a non-nihilistic ending! Throw in the call back to one of my absolute favourite BPRD stories with the collection guy and I absolutely loved it.

    All keen to try and catch back up now, and looks like I've got quite a way to go. Last read Abe vol 5 and BPRD vol 9. I see there's a Hellboy in Hell vol 2 now as well.

    Edit: Reading up thread I'm glad to see my views seem to be shared. Also just saw the 'The Visitor' announcement. I always wondered if we'd go back re-visit those alien guys.

    We've known the world was going to end since Plague of Frogs. BPRD and Hellboy became very much a Armageddon/Ragnarok style story with the heroes fighting to deny their enemies the right to remake the world in *their* image. The human race is most likely done on Earth, but that's not necessarily a bad thing given what we've seen in other books.
    Hell has been destroyed, lost souls can be redeemed, there's a small, quiet underground being preserved for mankind to be the next "mythological" creatures like the elves once were.

    So yeah, the world is ending, I don't agree it's hopeless though. There's still some cards left to play.
    Didn't Hellboy save England? Like, he spent his "Fuck you, Fate!" card to set it up so's that when the apocalypse is come and gone, merry old England still lives on, safely removed from the complete shitstorm everyone else gets to deal with.

  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    Kind of, he saved:
    Mythical England, a sort of pocket universe run by Alice. Real England still had problems like a necromancer summoning the corpses of giants killed by King Arthur's army and what not.

  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    England is now
    basically the site of the new Garden of Eden. Hellboy's blood has caused a new world tree to grow, and the whole place gives off a kind of fairyland vibe. I think it's meant to act as the final refuge from the Ogdru Jahad, preserving everything that can be preserved of the old world before its purged in flame, so that a new world can be born.

    Abe was there briefly but was sent back into the world to fulfill his destiny, which I think might be to lead all the survivors to the new garden, and from there into the new world. I guess we'll find out soon.

    pod_banner.jpg
    manwiththemachinegun
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    Well, that happened. Kind of, uh... huh.
    I like Johann tapping the power of the universe to butcher the Ogdru Jahad.

    Everything else, not so much.

    What of the new world, born from the new Garden of Eden? What of the new race of man that was to inherit it? The world just putters back to pretty much what it was before as the dormant Ogdru Hem are slaughtered one by one? Roads and cities go back up? Liz, the incarnation of the vril, just an average joe? Happy ending is great and all, the BPRD persisting is neat, could be a few neat stories there, but... after all the apocalypse promise, it being aborted so suddenly sort've leaves me cold.

    The one comment of the spirit of the Sledgehammer armor to Johann about 'what's coming', that saving the Earth now only delays the inevitable. A seed of a future story? Maybe. There's stuff that could be addressed. The last demon kicking around Earth. Hyperborea. What's going to happen with Abe. And for a new big bad with the Ogdru Jahad out of the way, there's always the source of the Ogdru Jahad's power, Ereshigal, 'who is Queen and Lord over the Great Darkness between Worlds.'

    And is Hellboy really gone? Like, for really real? In a universe with afterlives, what does that mean? We never did find out if there really is a heaven, after all...

    pod_banner.jpg
  • Bobby DerieBobby Derie regular Registered User regular
    Ghost dammit.
    It's the end of the world, is it too damn much to ask for something big and ugly to step on Devon? He has to be the most unpleasant BPRD character ever. Also, I guess we still have sword-dude hanging around...somewhere. Haven't seen him in a bit.

    The Unpublishable - Original fiction blog, updates Fridays
    Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    That's true.
    There's actually still a lot of people that survived who I thought wouldn't. Those mad scientists who worked for Rasputin and then the Black Flame - that creepy masked guy, that head he was in love with, pretty sure Igor-guy lived. Sword-guy, who is awesome.

    There's enough good and bad folk out there that it can still be business as usual for the BPRD. Which I think is what I find so off-putting, because I really was not expecting that. The dragons fall, the titans rise, and... its business as usual. Of all the things I didn't see coming, that was one of them.

    The Hellboy in Hell side of things was really the opposite. There were lots of story-hooks there - what Edward Gray was going to get up to in Hellboy's place, what Hellboy was going to do with himself in Hell. The titan Pluto being hinted at as a possible major villain. In the end Hellboy said 'nope,' and things ended.

    I am always a sucker for a narrative that keeps on going, though...

    pod_banner.jpg
  • Bobby DerieBobby Derie regular Registered User regular
    Yeah, if there's one guarantee, it's that things aren't over yet.

    The Unpublishable - Original fiction blog, updates Fridays
    Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Linespider5Linespider5 ALL HAIL KING KILLMONGER Registered User regular
    Y'know...I wonder a little. I don't know if this is crazy or what, but.

    Jack Kirby's 4th World. His whole New Gods deal, and all that could have been.

    Obviously, Kirby's talent, vision, and skill are undeniable. He is...Atlas, almost, for how influential and world-shaping he is. And the 4th World being arguably his most undiluted, self-edited work points to it be the quintessence of Kirby. A quintessence unfinished.

    Mignola is certainly a student of Kirby, but Mignola has carved out a little empire of influence, and has cleared the way for himself. And so, Hellboy, et al, get to be carried out to the end. Or, at least, an end as Mignola sees fit to decide. Not exactly the same glory that could be found in an incomplete tapestry, is it?

  • Bobby DerieBobby Derie regular Registered User regular
    They also have the Theosophical link...but I think, to hark back to the Empowered thread - "Does Spider-Man end?" Mignola isn't done with his work yet - might never be.

    The Unpublishable - Original fiction blog, updates Fridays
    Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Linespider5Linespider5 ALL HAIL KING KILLMONGER Registered User regular
    There's a lot of money in that red right hand, but I seriously wonder how 'done' Mignola is unless he unveils a new concept that is cheerfully independent of all things Hellboy.

  • Bobby DerieBobby Derie regular Registered User regular
    Can't say he hasn't tried a few things. Baltimore & Joe Golem come to mind.

    The Unpublishable - Original fiction blog, updates Fridays
    Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    I took a look at Rise of the Black Flame so far, and I'm now more convinced than ever that the Mignolaverse is ramping up from the Ogrdu Jahad to Ereshkigal as the main evil, with the OJ, Black Flame, and possibly Hecate and similar as different manifestations of this evil force, the counter to vril. So there's stories built around that to look forwards to.

    pod_banner.jpg
  • Linespider5Linespider5 ALL HAIL KING KILLMONGER Registered User regular
    Can't say he hasn't tried a few things. Baltimore & Joe Golem come to mind.

    I'd widely assumed that Baltimore was inexorably destined to be part of the Mignolaverse if it wasn't already. I guess I'm of a weird mind on this-Mignola has certain topics and affectations that are undeniably his own, and he cast a mighty huge net tackling all the things that could work within the framework of Hellboy. He's certainly much less guilty of repeating himself than other comics creators often are...but when I say something 'new' I mean something utterly unlike Hellboy's knotted tapestry of occult history, cosmic underworlds, and unfinished business from WW2.

    And yes, this is me at the banquet hall, scorning the feast, I know. Mignola can do whatever the hell he wants to. But unless he goes somewhere we haven't seen him go before, I'm gonna guess he's not quite left Hellboy behind for good yet.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior regular Registered User regular
    Just read The Devil's Wings.

    Hurrah BPRD can still be fun! Renewed enthusiasm to catch up.

    MhCw7nZ.gif
  • sullijosullijo mid-level minion subterranean bunkerRegistered User regular
    Interview with Hellboy editor Scott Allie about 2017: http://www.multiversitycomics.com/interviews/mignolaversity2017_01/

    Confirms that the next BPRD story cycle will debut this year.

    sig_nextwave.jpg
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    sullijo wrote: »
    Interview with Hellboy editor Scott Allie about 2017: http://www.multiversitycomics.com/interviews/mignolaversity2017_01/

    Confirms that the next BPRD story cycle will debut this year.

    Nice, many new stories to look forwards to.

    pod_banner.jpg
  • sullijosullijo mid-level minion subterranean bunkerRegistered User regular
  • Linespider5Linespider5 ALL HAIL KING KILLMONGER Registered User regular
    sullijo wrote: »

    I know there's something of a furror over new Hellboy movies without Guillermo Del Toro or Ron Perlman involved, but I really think people need to take a step back. There's nothing specifically wrong about going in a new direction, and, if we're honest, the GDT Hellboy movies were not that faithful to the source material and also are not among Del Toro's stronger works, either.

    Personally, if this thing actually gets off the ground and we get a trailer, I'm more than halfway expecting people will grudgingly admit it ends up looking okay.

  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    Del Toro said flat out Hellboy 3 was never going to happen, for whatever reason. I know a lot of people involved with the first 2 tried for a long time and it just never came together. So I'm fine with this.

    I really enjoyed the originals, whatever their faults, I'm happy for Hellboy to get more screentime in whatever form. I think the Hellboy films were before the superhero genre really exploded, so maybe a Hellboy film franchise would fare better nowadays.

    'sides, I'd rather Del Toro focus on Pac Rim.

    pod_banner.jpg
  • Linespider5Linespider5 ALL HAIL KING KILLMONGER Registered User regular
    Hellboy! Into the Silent Sea.

    It's a thing you can get, if you want more Hellboy, and are also into that kind of Eddie Campbell-style line work as seen in the early volumes of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. If you wanted a Hellboy story that looks like that, here it is.

    As Hellboy has already completed his arc as we may ever know it, the stakes are not terribly high here, and story-wise it is quite similar in terms of the supernatural elements at play. Stuff happens, Hellboy carries on to do go and do all the stuff he did after he got off The Island.

    Truthfully though, the art is a little off-the more you look at it, the more you can see little mistakes, or just puzzling choices. Mouths on faces often really look like they were done in later, like the head was a dry erase board and they didn't bother to make the mouth actually match the look of the face. Shadows in some areas don't make sense, like stairs in the hold of the ship that light passes through, don't line up. Although Dave Stewart is an excellent colorist, the black and white previews for this story looked a lot stronger in stark contrast, and I think it might have been better if they'd kept it that way versus the mostly muted tones in they've got going on here.

    Lastly, there isn't an epilogue of any kind, backmatter, or artist's sketches, so the whole thing ends up feeling on the lean side too, mostly in the 'the should've been more to this' kind of way.

    There have been other standalone Hellboy sidestories better than this, like Corben's Makoma, or even the Midnight Circus thing from a few years ago. Silent Sea ranks quite a bit lower than the Midnight Circus in terms of storytelling, artwork, and overall any meaningful plot. Is cool as the potential of Hellboy on a weird ship and sea monsters, this is another one of those where things happen, and then Hellboy wakes up. Probably overpriced.

    Bobby DerieGolden Yak
  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    I just picked up the TPBs of Hellboy in Hell, along with Hellboy in Mexico. Both are really good I Think!

    Thank you for reviewing the Silent Sea, though. I was flipping through amazon's listings and I wasn't sure which TPBs are worth picking up and what are not.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • Bobby DerieBobby Derie regular Registered User regular
    The Visitor And Why He Stayed finished - this was a kind of weird spin-off calling waaaay back to Conqueror Worm. Okay, not great.

    The Unpublishable - Original fiction blog, updates Fridays
    Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos
  • sullijosullijo mid-level minion subterranean bunkerRegistered User regular
    The Visitor And Why He Stayed finished - this was a kind of weird spin-off calling waaaay back to Conqueror Worm. Okay, not great.

    I think it still has one more issue, although this most recent one did feel like it could have been the end of the story. I'm betting we'll see the events of Conquerer Worm from the viewpoint of the Visitor in issue #5.

    sig_nextwave.jpg
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    Yeah, the last one will no doubt connect it to Conqueror Worm
    which will likely also depict the Visitor's death, given that he's a ghost for that story. Given how things have gone so far, its safe to assume that the Visitor will now have no distractions from his mission to fight Ogdru Hem manifestations, he will go to the castle, and perish somehow.

    I've enjoyed the series, and its links to the greater mythos. They haven't spelt it outright thus far but there are more hints that the Visitor's race is the civilization of Hyperberum, the descendants of the first race of man that left Earth after the fall of Hyperborea and the rise of the second race of man, modern humanity's ancestors. His more science-minded approach to the Ogdru-Hem and the other supernatural elements of the mythos were fun to read as well.

    pod_banner.jpg
  • sullijosullijo mid-level minion subterranean bunkerRegistered User regular
    OK, I've got to admit
    seeing Liz and Abe together again
    at the end of this week's BPRD put a smile on my face.

    sig_nextwave.jpg
    manwiththemachinegun
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior regular Registered User regular
    Having finally caught up to the end of the current of the current BPRDS/Abes in trade paperback collections, I've gone back to pick up the first Witchfinder, which is for some reason the only Hellboy-verse title I've managed to miss out on all this time.
    Aha! Strobl's rather random appearance in Abe suddenly makes a lot more sense! And Gilfryd again in yet another time period.
    I love how the history all weaves together.

    MhCw7nZ.gif
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior regular Registered User regular
    edited September 2017
    OMG!
    That's Howards' Hyperborian Sword!

    This is totally like going back and filling in missing single jigsaw pieces in an almost complete puzzle.

    Jam Warrior on
    MhCw7nZ.gif
  • sullijosullijo mid-level minion subterranean bunkerRegistered User regular
    edited October 2018
    Missed this when it was announced a few days ago:
    “B.P.R.D.,” the long-running Mike Mignola-helmed book, will end in May of next year. It was announced today that Mignola will put the book to bed with issue #15 of “B.P.R.D.: The Devil You Know,” the current volume of the title.

    Here is what Mignola has to say about the end of the series:

    “So here we are at last. For years I’ve known how the B.P.R.D. series would end. I wasn’t sure exactly how we would get here or how long it would take but I always knew in the end
    we’d have to get the original gang back together — including Rasputin. It was important to me that for the ending we would circle back around to where we started 25 years ago with ‘Seed of Destruction.’
    It’s a little sad but also very exciting to be here at last.”

    According to the ComicBook.com article, “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.,” which tells ‘missing’ stories from Hellboy’s days in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, will continue to be published.

    sullijo on
    sig_nextwave.jpg
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    Honestly, while I love BPRD a ton, that's probably for the best. Frankly, I haven't found The Devil You Know to be that great an arc, and there are some pretty awkward and contrived twists to, as they say, get the gang back together. The end of Hell of Earth might have been a better ending point, really. I'll have to judge when the current arc wraps up.

    I wonder, though, if this will mark an end to major ongoing developments in the Mignola-verse, or if there are plans for new series to tackle future events. I could read any number of BPRD series set in the past, but I would like to see how the narrative evolves moving forwards, and whether all these rumblings about the Black Goddess are going to amount to anything.

    pod_banner.jpg
  • sullijosullijo mid-level minion subterranean bunkerRegistered User regular
    Yeah, I think the loss of John Arcudi really hurt the series.

    My sense is that we won't see anything in the "future" and that any new stories will just fill in background.

    sig_nextwave.jpg
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    So, while the new Hellboy movie (haven't seen it, don't hear good things sadly) might have seemed like the big milestone for the Mignolaverse recently, there was another big milestone that might have seemed somewhat more subdued - the final issue of BPRD: The Devil You Know, which also acts as the final issue of the overall BPRD storyline that began with the first series spinning out of the pages of Hellboy's comics.

    Really wanted to get my thoughts out about this:
    I have mixed feelings about the arc - it had some decent bones, setting up one last battle: a down-and-dirty scrap between two mauled civilizations, the remnants of humanity that survived the rampages of the Ogdru-Hem and the dregs of Hell that survived the rampages of Hellboy in Hell. The Second Race of Man against the last of the Second Fall that had refused to serve humanity.

    Varvara/Yomyael, long built up as a big threat and seemingly the latest big villain to face the BPRD after the final demise of the Black Flame, had a plan to scrap together the last supernatural elements in the world into a rag-tag army that would build a new Hell on Earth. The BPRD had lost brave Yohann, Kate, and Panya, but Liz was back, Abe was back, and recent heroes like Fenix, Howards, and Ashley Strode had become growing heavy hitters that were filling the gap. Also Devon was a dick, but a dick you wanted to read more about, if only to see him finally put in his place. The story seemed poised to bring things down from the terrifying cosmic spectacle that the Ogdru Jahad and the Black Flame had unleashed - the war for Earth was won, only one last battle remained, an ugly brutish fight to see who would inherit the now saved world. So, good bones.

    But the breakneck pace saw the storyline stream by without giving much time for the characters to fulfill the promise of their early growth, with many characters old and newer unceremoniously killed off, without anything like the loving fanfare or build-up like the losses from Hell on Earth. Long-time characters were seemingly regressed, their hard-earned growth stripped away to leave them at their most shallow and raw. Hellboy was back thanks to Roger, though Red seemed perpetually stuck in his semi-dreamlike state of things that he's usually in when being blown about by supernatural events, going with the flow without much feeling. Understandable, maybe, given his time in Hell.

    Then the sudden hard twist of Varvara being even more dangerous with the demon Yomyael exorcised. An interesting idea, but given almost no time to register before she's suddenly Rasputin somehow. Back stronger than ever, reviving the thought-destroyed Ogdru Hem. In no time at all, people die, the world burns, the prophecy given throughout the entire series is back on track, pushed forwards seemingly by nothing more than the weight of its own inevitability and a number of contrived supernatural 'just becauses.'

    And we lose Abe, torn open by Rasputin in a wound mirroring the one Rasputin suffered from Abe way back in the first story, Seed of Destruction. Another prophecy fulfilled, suddenly and horribly, with no appreciation for everything Abe went through to learn his true nature and ultimate destiny in his own series.

    While the final show-down with Hellboy and Rasputin was strange and rushed and not especially satisfying, the climax was a nice touch - Rasputin so focused on the Right Hand of Doom, he completely ignores the left hand of just Hellboy's regular hand, which might not be made of a petrified angel but is still apparently quite capable of crushing Rasputin's skull.

    It's not enough to save the world anyway. At least not for the second race of humanity. The Ogdru Hem have left the world uninhabitable, the only safety far underground, where the dragon-spawn can't find them and the flames of apocalypse can't reach. Hellboy is dead again in the wake of the fall of the rest of the Ogdru Jahad, the six surviving dragons dragged to Earth and slain by the Right Hand's power, wielded by the Osiris Cult, long-time shadow-dwelling secret society that have been showing up in the books since almost the beginning. But it's cool, because Edward Grey shows Hellboy's ghost where they are, and Hellboy reclaims the Right Hand and all the dragon's power, just because he can.

    The final sequence switches to Mignola's art, and all mixed feelings aside, it's beautiful. The dream-like quality of Hellboy's strangest adventures is in full effect, like all of reality has been stripped away from the world, and everything is holding it's breath. Here's Hecate, returned as she promised, because that's how this story was always going to go. And as would always happen, Liz is here, seemingly in a trance, and on Hellboy's word she unleashes the fire - so much for it being her's to control now. And the Earth burns, but some people didn't die, living in the hollow underworld beneath the surface with Frankenstein (long story - well, 5 issues long, Frankenstein Underground, in fact. It's pretty good.).

    And then Hellboy and Hecate are both done, and Hecate takes on her Iron Maiden aspect, and Hellboy steps inside, his last words "Okay then. Let's see what--" cut short as Hecate clangs shut on him. Hellboy's blood spills, and a lot more than lilies grows from it. This time it's the whole world - trees and birds and bugs and pure ocean water. And from the corpse of Abe in the deep float free the eggs of frogs, a new race of man in Abe's image, evolved amphibious humanoids, just as all the servants of the Ogdru Jahad predicted, only not the twisted frog monsters but a pure race of frog people. The Ogdru Hem's efforts to co-opt mankind's future thwarted forever.

    The frog people explore their new world, finding Liz in a crystal, just as the Vril Maidens of ancient Hyperborean once inhabited to spread their flame and protect humanity. The End.

    Again, mixed feelings aside, the final sequence is beautiful. Mythic even. A new Genesis story (better imo, because frog people). It's the story every witch and wicked fairy and fallen angel and eldritch abomination has been swearing will happen since the start, only not the way they all hoped it would play out. Even Hecate wasn't so bad, everything considered. In the end Hellboy couldn't escape his destiny, but he did his best to aim it, and steer it straight through the evil schemes and the doom and the darkness into a new dawn. Anung un Rama, Destroyer of Worlds. But also Urush un Rama, Creator of Worlds.

    There's a final word from Mike himself, the promise of more stories set in the past featuring Hellboy and the BPRD (we're only up to 1956, there's still like 5 decades of stuff before Seed of Destruction). And there might even be a few stories set in the new world - goodness knows there's potential there. I'd love more stories with Koschei the Deathless in Hell. And to explore the aliens, see if they're Hyperboreans after all.

    And I really wanted to see if my theory that the darkness behind the Ogdru Jahad, the true serpent, the source of the Black Flame's power, Ereshigal, was real and a distinct being from Hecate, a counterpart to the Vril and the King of Spirits. I had thought she might be unveiled as the new threat following the Ogdru Jahad. Maybe she still will.

    But it will all be tinged with bittersweetness for me, because I know how it ultimately ends, and there's nothing like an ending this final to color any prequels that may be forthcoming.

    Goodness also knows I'll still read every damn one.

    But yes. Mixed feelings to a problematic but still memorable arc, if only because it pretty much had to be memorable given its ending.

    Goodnight Liz and Abe. Goodnight Red.

    Thanks for everything.

    pod_banner.jpg
    FencingsaxJaysonFour
  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Thank you for your thoughtful critique.

    Would you recommend the BPRD trades to someone like myself who loved all of Hellboy proper and Hellboy in Hell? I mean I probably will end up with them anyway to finish the collection.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • Golden YakGolden Yak Burnished Bovine The PIT, level 26Registered User regular
    MegaMan001 wrote: »
    Thank you for your thoughtful critique.

    Would you recommend the BPRD trades to someone like myself who loved all of Hellboy proper and Hellboy in Hell? I mean I probably will end up with them anyway to finish the collection.

    Absolutely. I'm re-reading the series now myself, and it seems to keep getting better every time I go back to it. I'm always realizing new ways in which the overall story links with or grows out of earlier stuff, how its crosses over with Hellboy, and how it's being used to fuel later books that are set in earlier eras. It's a very strong book, I can't think of an arc that had the issues Devil You Know did.

    pod_banner.jpg
  • manwiththemachinegunmanwiththemachinegun METAL GEAR?! Registered User regular
    Golden Yak wrote: »
    So, while the new Hellboy movie (haven't seen it, don't hear good things sadly) might have seemed like the big milestone for the Mignolaverse recently, there was another big milestone that might have seemed somewhat more subdued - the final issue of BPRD: The Devil You Know, which also acts as the final issue of the overall BPRD storyline that began with the first series spinning out of the pages of Hellboy's comics.

    Really wanted to get my thoughts out about this:
    I have mixed feelings about the arc - it had some decent bones, setting up one last battle: a down-and-dirty scrap between two mauled civilizations, the remnants of humanity that survived the rampages of the Ogdru-Hem and the dregs of Hell that survived the rampages of Hellboy in Hell. The Second Race of Man against the last of the Second Fall that had refused to serve humanity.

    Varvara/Yomyael, long built up as a big threat and seemingly the latest big villain to face the BPRD after the final demise of the Black Flame, had a plan to scrap together the last supernatural elements in the world into a rag-tag army that would build a new Hell on Earth. The BPRD had lost brave Yohann, Kate, and Panya, but Liz was back, Abe was back, and recent heroes like Fenix, Howards, and Ashley Strode had become growing heavy hitters that were filling the gap. Also Devon was a dick, but a dick you wanted to read more about, if only to see him finally put in his place. The story seemed poised to bring things down from the terrifying cosmic spectacle that the Ogdru Jahad and the Black Flame had unleashed - the war for Earth was won, only one last battle remained, an ugly brutish fight to see who would inherit the now saved world. So, good bones.

    But the breakneck pace saw the storyline stream by without giving much time for the characters to fulfill the promise of their early growth, with many characters old and newer unceremoniously killed off, without anything like the loving fanfare or build-up like the losses from Hell on Earth. Long-time characters were seemingly regressed, their hard-earned growth stripped away to leave them at their most shallow and raw. Hellboy was back thanks to Roger, though Red seemed perpetually stuck in his semi-dreamlike state of things that he's usually in when being blown about by supernatural events, going with the flow without much feeling. Understandable, maybe, given his time in Hell.

    Then the sudden hard twist of Varvara being even more dangerous with the demon Yomyael exorcised. An interesting idea, but given almost no time to register before she's suddenly Rasputin somehow. Back stronger than ever, reviving the thought-destroyed Ogdru Hem. In no time at all, people die, the world burns, the prophecy given throughout the entire series is back on track, pushed forwards seemingly by nothing more than the weight of its own inevitability and a number of contrived supernatural 'just becauses.'

    And we lose Abe, torn open by Rasputin in a wound mirroring the one Rasputin suffered from Abe way back in the first story, Seed of Destruction. Another prophecy fulfilled, suddenly and horribly, with no appreciation for everything Abe went through to learn his true nature and ultimate destiny in his own series.

    While the final show-down with Hellboy and Rasputin was strange and rushed and not especially satisfying, the climax was a nice touch - Rasputin so focused on the Right Hand of Doom, he completely ignores the left hand of just Hellboy's regular hand, which might not be made of a petrified angel but is still apparently quite capable of crushing Rasputin's skull.

    It's not enough to save the world anyway. At least not for the second race of humanity. The Ogdru Hem have left the world uninhabitable, the only safety far underground, where the dragon-spawn can't find them and the flames of apocalypse can't reach. Hellboy is dead again in the wake of the fall of the rest of the Ogdru Jahad, the six surviving dragons dragged to Earth and slain by the Right Hand's power, wielded by the Osiris Cult, long-time shadow-dwelling secret society that have been showing up in the books since almost the beginning. But it's cool, because Edward Grey shows Hellboy's ghost where they are, and Hellboy reclaims the Right Hand and all the dragon's power, just because he can.

    The final sequence switches to Mignola's art, and all mixed feelings aside, it's beautiful. The dream-like quality of Hellboy's strangest adventures is in full effect, like all of reality has been stripped away from the world, and everything is holding it's breath. Here's Hecate, returned as she promised, because that's how this story was always going to go. And as would always happen, Liz is here, seemingly in a trance, and on Hellboy's word she unleashes the fire - so much for it being her's to control now. And the Earth burns, but some people didn't die, living in the hollow underworld beneath the surface with Frankenstein (long story - well, 5 issues long, Frankenstein Underground, in fact. It's pretty good.).

    And then Hellboy and Hecate are both done, and Hecate takes on her Iron Maiden aspect, and Hellboy steps inside, his last words "Okay then. Let's see what--" cut short as Hecate clangs shut on him. Hellboy's blood spills, and a lot more than lilies grows from it. This time it's the whole world - trees and birds and bugs and pure ocean water. And from the corpse of Abe in the deep float free the eggs of frogs, a new race of man in Abe's image, evolved amphibious humanoids, just as all the servants of the Ogdru Jahad predicted, only not the twisted frog monsters but a pure race of frog people. The Ogdru Hem's efforts to co-opt mankind's future thwarted forever.

    The frog people explore their new world, finding Liz in a crystal, just as the Vril Maidens of ancient Hyperborean once inhabited to spread their flame and protect humanity. The End.

    Again, mixed feelings aside, the final sequence is beautiful. Mythic even. A new Genesis story (better imo, because frog people). It's the story every witch and wicked fairy and fallen angel and eldritch abomination has been swearing will happen since the start, only not the way they all hoped it would play out. Even Hecate wasn't so bad, everything considered. In the end Hellboy couldn't escape his destiny, but he did his best to aim it, and steer it straight through the evil schemes and the doom and the darkness into a new dawn. Anung un Rama, Destroyer of Worlds. But also Urush un Rama, Creator of Worlds.

    There's a final word from Mike himself, the promise of more stories set in the past featuring Hellboy and the BPRD (we're only up to 1956, there's still like 5 decades of stuff before Seed of Destruction). And there might even be a few stories set in the new world - goodness knows there's potential there. I'd love more stories with Koschei the Deathless in Hell. And to explore the aliens, see if they're Hyperboreans after all.

    And I really wanted to see if my theory that the darkness behind the Ogdru Jahad, the true serpent, the source of the Black Flame's power, Ereshigal, was real and a distinct being from Hecate, a counterpart to the Vril and the King of Spirits. I had thought she might be unveiled as the new threat following the Ogdru Jahad. Maybe she still will.

    But it will all be tinged with bittersweetness for me, because I know how it ultimately ends, and there's nothing like an ending this final to color any prequels that may be forthcoming.

    Goodness also knows I'll still read every damn one.

    But yes. Mixed feelings to a problematic but still memorable arc, if only because it pretty much had to be memorable given its ending.

    Goodnight Liz and Abe. Goodnight Red.

    Thanks for everything.

    It's pretty much how I thought things would play out. It was always about the end of the world, but the fight was always about stopping evil from remaking the world in THEIR image.
    Our humanity is now the myths and legends of old while something new is born in the ashes.

  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Golden Yak wrote: »
    MegaMan001 wrote: »
    Thank you for your thoughtful critique.

    Would you recommend the BPRD trades to someone like myself who loved all of Hellboy proper and Hellboy in Hell? I mean I probably will end up with them anyway to finish the collection.

    Absolutely. I'm re-reading the series now myself, and it seems to keep getting better every time I go back to it. I'm always realizing new ways in which the overall story links with or grows out of earlier stuff, how its crosses over with Hellboy, and how it's being used to fuel later books that are set in earlier eras. It's a very strong book, I can't think of an arc that had the issues Devil You Know did.

    Awesome, thank you very much! I'll get on those TPBs right now.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
    Golden Yak
Sign In or Register to comment.