The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense has gone through quite a few changes over the past years. Since its inception in World War 2, the agency has always been a cover ops styled unit that would deal with the things that go bump in the night from the shadows – keeping the world safe and blissfully unaware that they needed these clandestine guardians. This all started to change as demons and monsters from other realms started to slip through the cracks with the mindless agenda of taking over and destroying our world. With the help from Hellboy and the fiery powers of Liz Sherman, these threats have been pushed back. The world however now knows of their existence and that our very safety is questionable as monsters under the bed do exist and humanity’s capacity for self-destruction is a pale reflection of what is really out there.
Since the news of a world beyond our own has been made public knowledge, the death of Hellboy, our greatest champion and protector has left quite an impact. Liz has gone missing after saving us all and Abe is near death leaving us only the ghostly Johann and the Bureau itself to keep us safe. Thankfully, the Bureau now has the budget of a small nation and has enveloped it’s Russian counterpart to keep the world safe – but will it be enough?
Taking place before the events on the previous issue we open with a wrecked area of my stomping grounds – Chicago, IL. The art style is done in a haunting manor that will be familiar to any readers of the series and is always a welcome change from the icon styles portrayed in the regular super hero titles that I read.
A punkish street kid leads a group of agents through an abandoned building to the basement and tells them he isn’t going any further to whatever he had found. The agents start to think it’s nothing but as a reader, when you see their guide leaving the room from giant doors set in the basement of the building…. you know nothing good can be coming from this. It opens into what looks like a temple that could quite possibly be combining both sorcery and technology that belonged to a being named Larzod.
We are quickly shown that this temple belonged to The Brotherhood of Ra who dealt in magic linked to ancient Egypt. Technology and relics fill the room and temple walls are riddled with bullet holes. Of course one of the agents decide to pick one of the weapon’s on display on the wall and suddenly his world fades to black.
Pushing out of the darkness he emerges into time that is not his own. He has been transferred into the body of a warrior in the past. What we learn is that the weapon he has comes from an ancient warrior and appears to be able to focus the spirit of the warriors who have used it in the past to the current man who holds the weapon. This would almost make sense, if he hadn’t been transferred into the past to inhabit the body of this ancient warrior.
The tribe this warrior comes from had barely won a battle against a race of undead creatures. It would appear to be fated that they track down these creatures to kill them all.
Overall, it’s a fun first part of a two part side story set within the BPRD universe. It doesn’t seem to be directly tied into the ongoing story though it is very common for BPRD tales to be stand-alone. While I did enjoy the first half that we were just told, I think after reading the return of Hellboy to print I was hoping for a little more from this tale. A good read but nothing groundbreaking in this one.
Writer: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Artist: James Harren
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: James Harren