I really enjoyed Hellboy II: The Golden Army. It inspired me to pick up the Hellboy Companion which, in turn, compelled me to get my hands on every Hellboy trade I could get my hands on.
On which I could get my hands.
What didn’t turn me on about Hellboy II was the ridiculous casting of Seth McFarlane in the role of Johann Kraus. His abrasive and offensive “German” accent was so off-putting that it’s probably one of the big reasons people couldn’t lock into the movie.
Johann is a deep and affecting character with many levels of motivation and the movie version was an extended, self-indulgent joke for Mr. McFarlane.
*Mild Spoilers Ahead*
In this later chapter in the Hell on Earth saga, the eye falls on Johann Kraus and his wonderful new containment suit in the first part and then descends into madness with a wonderful, entrail-filled, Beowulf-style ass-kicking in the last part.
I’m glad to see serious attention being paid to Johann in this arc and the “Russia” arc. We get to see important things happen to him (dreaming now?) and also to Abe Sapien (monster-ville?). I think we all know what’s coming and until Hellboy comes back from Hell, we will just have to white-knuckle it until it happens.
I’ve grown to like B.P.R.D. quite a bit since I ran out of Hellboys to read. Though there is a lot of lovely blood and dismemberment in this issue, the weak point for me has always been the art. I mean, when you’re getting steak over in HB (Fegredo, Corben, Mignola himself), it’s hard to adjust one’s palate for the weird little eclectic soup of what B.P.R.D. usually has to offer.
This arc is no different. The art is fluid at best and muddled at worst. It’s almost too cartoony at some points. Wah wah wah. Whine.
Overall, this is an important chapter in the recent storylines in the Hellboy Universe. Things are really looking dire around the world and B.P.R.D. is the level-headed observer that keeps us all informed.
It’s hard to label this series as “good” or “bad”. Every part is intrinsic and something important happens in every issue. So, if you’ve been reading the other Hell on Earth books, you should pick this one up. You probably are anyway.
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – The Long Death is on stands now. Visit DarkHorse.com, or your local book shop, to get your copy.
What say you?
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