Thursday, August 12, 2010

BPRD Hell on Earth #1, Time Bomb #1, Wheel of Time #4

BPRD: Hell on Earth - New World#1
Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art by Guy Davis and Dave Stewart
Letters by Clem Robins
Published by Dark Horse
Review by Lan Pitts

Monster on the loose! People are vanishing in this small town! Time to call Scoob and the Gang! Wait, no, that's not right. We need the BPRD. Mike Mignola, arguably the biggest name in supernatural comics, and this top notch team of John Arcudi, Guy Davis, and Dave Stewart once again take us for an exciting ride with the BPRD gang. Though, this time around, there's something a bit different. It is indeed a new world and a new direction for these characters. After the conclusion of BPRD: King of Fear, the BPRD is reconstructed and overseen by the United Nations. Oy.

Now, this isn't a deviation from what we've come to expect and love from these creators and characters. It's interesting to see how the BPRD is dealing with the massive amounts of red tape and litigation. The first issue doesn't really build a plot as it does play catch-up, but there are hints of something big to come. I love how Mignola and Arcudi established the fear of Americans over the funding of BPRD by the U.N., again just whispers and nudges of what we can expect later on.

Guy Davis is one of my favorite artists of all-time. His comic style is distinguishable and animated and has been the image that I have in my mind whenever I see or talk about Hellboy and such. Dave Stewart's colors over Davis' art just plain works. It's a more laid back style compared to say his work on Detective Comics, but more in tune with what he did on New Frontier. The city scape is bright and busy, and the woods Abe's wanders into have a spooky and macabre vibe.

If you're a fan of the series, go ahead and pick this up. However, if you're rusty on these adventures or characters, I'd recommend checking out previous installments because it doesn't really feel like a good pick-up point or is as accessible despite the dossier in the front. What this issue really needed was a full-on first page of "Last Time on BPRD..." sort of deal. I just worry that fans who want to get into it will feel lost.


Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time #4
Written by Robert Jordan
Script by Chuck Dixon
Art by Chase Conley and Nicolas Chapuis
Lettering by Bill Tortolini
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Review by Lan Pitts

"I don't know that you are worth it, sheepherder, no matter what she says." -- Lan Mandragora

Reading these comics reminds me why I fell in love with The Wheel of Time in the first place, especially around this time in the books when the action starts to unfold. Coming back to Emond's Field with an injured Tam, Rand discovers that his village was attacked by Trollocs. When Nynaeve, the Wisdom (read: healer) of the village sees to Tam, she informs Rand there is nothing she can do. Despair takes over Rand, but finds hope again when he discovers the mysterious Moiraine is actually an Aes Sedai and can cure his father.

As much as I love the actual novels, I want to like this comic more. Then again, it's hard to replace the images you've had in your heard for more than half your life with Chase Conley's art. Some character still aren't quite there, but if there is one character Conley has down pat it is Moiraine. The way she stands, her face, the way she channels the One Power, it's all very, for a lack of a better term: Moiraine-like. Now the layout of some of the pages still bother me, but it isn't so much a diversion that I want to cast baelfire on the book (that's an in-joke). I feel the main thing is that his inks are inconsistent, but his image of a charred Emond's Field was pretty spot-on and just a great shot. Nicolas Chapuis' colors are another thing. While it was exciting to see Moiraine channel and fight back with lightning, the rest of his art just comes across as boring and shallow. I just think with a rich tale like the Wheel of Time, there ought to be richer colors as well.

Chuck Dixon continues to take Jordan's story and get the best parts of the story without taking much out, if anything, because it's just how I remember it. The scene with Rand and Egwene comes across as honest and emotional. And I think Dixon understands the characters as well as the fact that he is dealing with material that is considered the Lord of the Rings for this generation.


Time Bomb#1 (Published by Radical; Review by Lan Pitts): Talk about genuine creativity here. Essentially, in the future, an underground city was discovered in Berlin where a hand-selected members of the Third Reich were going to stay, while a missile was activated and spread the mother of all viruses. Well, of course nothing goes according to plan, but I guess if the Nazis had it their way, better late than never I suppose. So, the missile is accidentally launched and the virus is spread and will destroy all life in an estimated three days. The solution? Go back in time to warn the government about the missile and the threat. What actually happens is that the small time-traveling team is sent back too far and they are now in WWII during the Nazi regime. Fully equipped to the T with modern day weaponry. So the question is, will they pull a Sam Beckett and change history for the better? It brings up a lot of questions, and I'm a sucker for a good time travel story. With fifty-four pages and NO ads, this book just can't be beat. If you know anything about Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, you know they make a dynamite team. Paul Gulacy's art is exquisite, adding to the serious tone for the book with proper inking that gives it the action movie feel. Rain Beredo's color also mesh well with what's going on, using lots of dark colors. Time Bomb is a fine example of compelling story telling and I would easily recommend this to anybody looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. It is for a more mature reader, but nothing to the degree of say anything out of the Vertigo line. If you're a fan of history, twist-ory, time travel and adventure, give this mini-series a shot.

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