Few can weave giant epic storylines like Mike Mignola, and with B.P.R.D.: King Of Fear he again rises to the occasion. King Of Fear is the final arc of a storyline that began with The Warning and continued through Black Goddess. The B.P.R.D. have been going through a lot of changes, not the least of which is the isolation of Liz since her ordeal with Memnan Saa but there’s no time to breathe as the Frogs have returned and teamed up with the Red Dwarves for some world domination type action.
Rushing to save the day with Liz is Abe Sapien and a platoon of agents. From there we get Hollow Earth, Red Dwarves, dead Frogs and a surprise leader. Not to mention visions of a dead Earth and creatures that would put even H.P. Lovecraft to shame.
What makes B.P.R.D. so good is that Mignola has a way of taking the supernatural and making it not just believable but almost routine. Rather than treating the events in King Of Fear with awe Mignola writes it as just another job, something akin to Abe Sapien and the B.P.R.D. crew being high-end plumbers.
It’s not to say the writing makes the events boring or doesn’t treat them with the due respect but by keeping the B.P.R.D. a seemingly working class paranormal defense team you can identify them with them in a way you can’t with other folks who battle monsters. I was also impressed because elements of King Of Fear draws on things that go deep into the B.P.R.D. roots. This may not make issue #3 the most logical jumping on point for new readers but for long time fans it’s an awesome read. Also present is Mignola’s keen sense of dialog and his unique ability to shift scenes from upbeat and funny to melancholy and sad at the drop of a dime.
As awesome as Mignola’s script is it wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without the art from Guy Davis. Davis has been a part of B.P.R.D. since 2004 and for me he is the only guy outside Mignola himself who should ever be allowed to illustrate it. Davis has a gift for blending shadow with color as well as a real eye for line work and detail.
With writing like this it’s imperative the emotion comes through in the faces and Davis delivers that incredibly well. His drawings help to create the entire world of B.P.R.D. without overshadowing the characters or the plot. Very few artists can draw memorable characters, new worlds and fantastic creatures while not killing the plot. Davis does it with flying colors.
B.P.R.D.: King Of Fear is a smart and sophisticated story and issue #3 not only moves the story along but also takes it into a new direction. The story thus far has been another notch in the belt of a long running sci-fi series that has reinvented how the genre is approached in comics. B.P.R.D. isn’t just Hellboy’s sister book anymore but rather a series that stands on its own held firm by great writing, great art and memorable characters.