There seems to be a formula that has to be followed in order to write a great noir comic. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi have figured out that formula in the latest installment of Lobster Johnson.
Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #1 introduces us to a Prohibition-era New York filled with murder, mystery, and the supernatural. Do not expect to find pages filled with guns blazing and swinging fists in Lobster Johnson #1. This issue is dedicated to story building, but successfully builds anticipation for future issues.
B.P.R.D.: Being Human TPB Written by Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, John Arcudi
Art by Karl Moline, Richard Corben, Ben Stenbeck, Guy Davis, Andy Owens, Jo Chen
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Clem Robins
Cover by Mike Mignola Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 30, 2011
Cover Price: $17.99
Mike Mignola and John Arcudi have crafted the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. universe in a way that is continually referencing the past. In a world in which the dead rarely stay dead and old enemies rise to cause havoc again, it is important to know the history of most B.P.R.D. books. In B.P.R.D.: Being Human Mignola and Arcudi tackle the often brought up but seldom detailed pasts of B.P.R.D. agents Abe Sapien, Roger, Liz, and Johann. In this collection of backstories we are introduced to the dark and often devastating pasts of each character as they go on their first field mission or struggle with life as a B.P.R.D. field agent. Some stories are stronger then others in this trade paperback, but the introduction of each character’s past is all wonderfully developed and a must-read for any B.P.R.D. fan.
From its first issue Mike Mignola and John Arcudi have been crafting B.P.R.D Hell on Earth Russia like a classic horror film. Every page of this comic has been dedicated to building tension. From the undead horrors patrolling the streets of Russia to the possessed psychics, Migola and Arcudi have left me wondering just what they have planned for this series. The tension continues to build with B.P.R.D Hell on Earth Russia #3 as paranormal detectives Johann and Kate dive deeper into the mysterious circumstances surrounding an unearthly coal mine. Finally Mignola and Arcudi begin to peel back the curtain to reveal the horrors they have created in B.P.R.D Hell on Earth Russia #3 and take us deeper into the nightmare.
Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest #1 was a twisty little read. Abe is one of my favorite characters from Mike Mignola. Unfortunately, a lot of folks have only the most basic exposure to this character thanks to the Hellboy movies, which don’t portray him in his best light. This comic brings a combination of Abe’s intellect and badassery to the printed page.
A simple trip to meet an acquaintance’s relative leads us to the beginning of a warped tale. A lot of this story is a build up to the last few pages, of which I can tell you nothing without spoiling it for you. That said, in this issue Abe brings the pain. Everything he does to his enemies is calculated and deadly…totally laid the smackdown on the hellish minions.
I’ve read plenty of Hellboy stories before, but no actual B.P.R.D. comics before, so I was excited to dive into the B.P.R.D. part of the Hellboy universe, which is exactly what I have done with B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Russia #1 (of 5). I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the story or would get lost within it. The main reason I haven’t read any B.P.R.D. before is that even though I knew where to start, I was intimidated by the amount of stories that are out there. As it turns out, I didn’t have worry.
The most impressive thing about this issue was the accessibility of it. I was aware of a lot of the cast, whether from the Hellboy comics I have read, or from the movies or from just hearing about the characters from other comics fans. The recap page did a great job of catching me up to speed, and the story just took off from there and explained anything else I needed to know.