B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth Volume 3: Russia Paperback – 14 Aug 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
BPRD continues to be an interesting blend of X-Files and HP Lovecraft as their strange agents go toe to toe with even stranger enemies. The overall storyline receives some small space here with Devon catching up with Fenix, but the focus is on the events in Russia. There's a new villain introduced in this volume, Iosif, whose origin story can be found in "Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest and Other Stories" so snap that up before picking up this book if you're going for the full picture.
"Russia" is a decent effort from Mignola and co. as the BPRD trundle along in this new story arc of survival in a newly endangered Earth swarming with all manner of creepy crawlies and things that go bump in the night. It isn't the best in the series so far and it could've been more exciting in parts (Johann's not the most interesting protagonist) but the writers need to change the formulaic plots they give the BPRD, not the "one monster in one place at a time" scenario that seems to be every BPRD book. Here's hoping future storylines are a lot more imaginative.
Given that by this point in the series literal Armageddon is actually happening, we might expect both a host of new characters to arrive on the scene, as well as a portrait of a society that is collapsing around the BPRD. Instead, by 'Russia', most of the interesting characters are either mothballed or dead, and the only new characters are Iosif, who is boringly callous and a terrible example of a stereotype which Mignola has until this point been excellent at avoiding, and two absurd blasts from the past at the conclusion. But more importantly, BPRD is still acting one-problem-at-a-time - this may have cut it before the apocalypse, but I couldn't help thinking that the adventures of the BPRD in this volume are simply too small to be attempts at saving a civilisation in collapse. To make up for this, Mignola and the others are the making the monsters weirder than ever. Whilst I still enjoyed the collection of bizarre fungus monsters, zombies and leviathans, it's not something that can be sustained. BPRD needs to step up its game, and whilst there's still plenty of room and time for the series to turn around, I would personally wait before buying 'Russia' to see if Mignola and Co. manage to save the series from jumping over the shark in its path.
"Russia" is an exemplar of this! I loved it from cover to cover. Seeing the BPRD interact with the SSS in Russia created an interesting dynamic and the characters of Johann and Kate are fleshed out and developed.
I dont want to spoil anything but suffice to say, Abe's storyline is becoming increasingly layered and new characters (as well as old ones) that are introduced (and reintroduced) muster nostalgic memories of early Hellboy stories.
A great addition to the series