Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Hellboy Project: B.P.R.D. Vol.7: Garden of Souls

Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art by Guy Davis

This volume is one of the strangest and coolest of the BPRD stories I've read to date.  Abe receives a cigar case that belonged to Langdon Everett Caul, his former self.  He figures out that it was mailed from Indonesia, and travels there with Captain Daimio.  He ends up alone on a strange island populated by bizarre hybrid creatures and populated by three of Caul's old friends, kept alive in Victorian-era metal suits that make them look vaguely like submersible robots.  This book also introduces Panya, an ancient Egyptian mummy.

While this story is nicely nuts, it's also pretty compelling and very character-based.  Abe is slowly becoming the man he was before he discovered his origins, and Daimio is integrating much better onto the team (even while Johann is learning things about him that could become a problem later on).

The design work on this series is brilliant.  There are a number of strange creatures that Davis had to design for this book, but his Victorian cyborgs are brilliant, as is the crumbling mansion they live in.  I like how this book is frequently a brighter counter-point to Mignola's Hellboy work, and this volume stands out as one of the most gorgeously-drawn to date.

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