Sadness Ahead: B.P.R.D.: The Warning

scan of the cover to B.P.R.D. The Warning

At first glance, B.P.R.D. is a clever mash-up of pulp-horror conventions, a Lovecraftian mythos, and the superhero team dynamic.  It’s all of those things, but Mignola, Arcudi, Davis et al. are more than willing to take the series in different directions as well.

The series is big on character development.  Story arcs don’t end with a reinstatement of the status quo, as is often the case with Superman, but instead the characters wear their wounds, and each adventure takes  a toll on them.  Characters die all of the time, and this affects the members of the B.P.R.D.  It’s even a recurring motif in the story for characters to wish Hellboy was still with them (for reasons hard to explain, Hellboy hasn’t teamed up with any of them for years).

This graphic novel starts with the surviving members mourning the losses of two of the central characters (Spoiler: Roger and Daimio).  Then, it turns into a story of the team continuing in their effort to understand and defeat the inscrutable frog monsters.  In the process, Liz is ineluctably lured into the lair of the Fu Manchu looking mystic who has offered prophecies to her throughout the series.  It’s a confrontation that has been long in the works.

Giant, epic battles are a staple of B.P.R.D. and The Warning culminates in a doozy.  It’s not quite as cool as the one involving enormous serpentine dragons, but it’s close.

The Warning has all of the elements that make the series great.  Mignola provides enigmatic stories tinged with occult beliefs, Arcudi (the co-writer) fleshes out the characters, and Davis supplies some very unique artwork.  A majority of the B.P.R.D. comics involve this same trio cooperating, so it’s overall a consistent series.

The one drawback of B.P.R.D. is that I have trouble following it, since, as I said before, it doesn’t bother reinstating the status quo at the end of the story.  I think having a continuing narrative is in many ways better than a perpetually restarting storyline, but this involves collecting a lot of issues.

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