Wednesday, 23 December 2015

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Volume 9: The Reign of the Black Flame Review (Mike Mignola, James Harren)

I think I’ve been looking at BPRD all wrong – up til now I’ve thought of it as this finite story, which is why its plodding pace has annoyed me so much; but I don’t think that’s what Mike Mignola/Dark Horse have in mind. They’re creating middle story with no resolution, ie. setting up their own Batman/Spider-Man-type template with BPRD. They want these guys to always be wandering towns and cities fighting kaiju and recurring bad guys like the Black Flame and never getting any closer to defeating them. 

And that’s what this volume is: another crappy story of Batman going after the Joker for the umpteenth time, except the BPRD version: BPRD fight monsters in the city, Black Flame’s the big bad, throw them all together and offer no resolution and no change by the end. Repeat in the next volume and the next and so on. The evil Zinco Corp are being food fascists but that’s about it for new stuff. In other words, this one is more uninspired BPRD bullhonky. 

James Harren’s art is just ok in this one. Generally it looks good though it’s tough to understand what’s happening in some panels, like in the sewer scene. Bullets are flying around, characters are seemingly getting hit by them but aren’t hurt, there’s lightning (or are those trajectory lines?); I get what's happening in the scene overall but some of the moments within it were confusing. 

So this is what BPRD has become: characters pointlessly fighting monsters and only that. No story, no overarching plotline, very little to care about – and that’s The Reign of the Black Flame! I'd be fine with the static nature of the storytelling if it was interesting to read but it isn't. 

I hope I’m not right and there is a plan/direction for the series but at the moment boring books like this make it seem like the creators are happy to just spin their wheels indefinitely. If that is all that’s going to happen from now on, I’m tapping out.

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Volume 9: The Reign of the Black Flame

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