Review: B.P.R.D. #108, Wasteland #2

BPRD 108

In the Mignolaverse—at least where B.P.R.D.  is concerned—apocalypse seems always over the horizon, but the Bureau folks always handle it well, if not calmly and collectedly. The on-going B.P.R.D. hasn’t been my favorite book in the Mignolaverse (look forward to a review next week of B.P.R.D. Vampire #4), but it sure packs a punch, and this latest storyline has my interest. If you like horror comics, zombies, monster fights, and the like, this is the book for you, and a great way to join the B.P.R.D. in fighting the world-saving fight.

Michael Mignola and John Arcudi bring to life a desolate Wasteland of mutant zombies, bat-faced monsters, and an infectious mist that makes the whole story arc feel like a combination of Stephen King’s The Mist, Image’s The Walking Dead, and good ole Mignolaverse fun. This issue develops character, much more than plot, and serves as a way to bring newly introduced characters to the forefront and to pull-in the results of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Return of the Master, a 5-part mini-series set in Scotland featuring Agent Giarocco (yes, you should go back and read it!).

The issue begins with Corrigan and Director Nichayko discussing the state of the current apocalypse (which, if you don’t know, is the result of the Black Flame’s rebirth); there seems to be radio silence in most of the world’s major cities, and B.P.R.D. teams across the world haven’t been heard from. The B.P.R.D. head honchos are even more in the dark than the readers, which actually turns out to be quite suspenseful, because while we know it’s Black Flame, we’ve got no idea where Mignola and Arcudi are taking this.

Introduced in this series is Agent Gervesh, who reveals her first name as Becca in this issue to a young boy whose father was tragically mutated into a zombie and killed by the B.P.R.D. (not in a malevolent way, but in a we-need-to-survive-sorry-kid way). Becca and this young man form as close a relationship as is possible on an apocalyptic day when your dad is killed. In the end, however, the child poses the greatest mystery in this arc, as the final panel shows him walking off into Chicago alone (and why the heck doesn’t Johann Kraus stop him?!). As a side note, it would appear Chicago was conquered by a demon similar in appearance to H.G. Wells’ Martians.

This is largely a bridge story, focusing on travel, peppered with the same violent encounters seen in the last issue (nothing new), and with solid character development—it builds intrigue for this story arc, but doesn’t go very far on its own. Art by Laurence Campbell is detailed and diverse; it’s obvious he’s well suited to the gritty, noir-horror ambience of the Wasteland arc, but not my first choice for future Mignola comics. Campbell’s art is well complemented by Dave Stewart, colorist. Lately I seem to be looking more closely at colorists’ work, since they’re tasked with bringing the artist’s work to life in the same way that the artist has to interpret a script. It sounds like hard work, but Dave Stewart makes it look easy!

If you’re a B.P.R.D. fan—and you should be!—or you like zombies and horror comics, stop into your local comic shop or your online (digital) retailer, and make sure to read B.P.R.D. #108, Wasteland #2. You won’t be remiss, since B.P.R.D. is one of those series that makes Dark Horse one of my most beloved publishers.

P.S. I’m not so sure how Dave Johnson’s cover relates to the story, since that monster is nowhere to be seen…yet.

Story: Michael Mignola and John Arcudi Art: Laurence Campbell and Dave Stewart
Story: 7.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review