Thursday, May 10, 2012

BPRD Hell on Earth - The Pickens County Horror #2

Written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Art by Jason Latour

I'm a couple weeks late in reading this comic (thanks Diamond!), but it was well worth it, as these short little BPRD mini-series that the people in the Mike Mignola department of Dark Horse are putting out so many of these days are really quite excellent.

Everyone loves a big epic, sweeping story, but we sometimes forget that a focused, taut little mini-series can be just as, if not more, rewarding.  With the Pickens County Horror, Mignola and co-writer Scott Allie have crafted a terrific little look at the types of missions undertaken by the agents of the BPRD who aren't Abe Sapien, Johann Kraus or Liz Sherman, but that are regular people involved in some deeply weird crap.

This issue concludes the story of just what some American vampires (no relation to Scott Snyder's Vertigo characters) have been up to in rural South Carolina.  Mignola has rarely shown vampires in his Hellboy-verse (which is not in the same continuity as his Baltimore stories), but whenever they've appeared, there have been hints at a larger plot to literally seed the world with vampires, preparing for a particular date when they would all awaken.

In this story, Agents Vaughn and Peters have taken refuge in a shack covered in crosses, and lived in by an old man who is there to study vampires.  Peters is quite ill, and we learn that whatever the strange fog is that has descended on the town every night, it's had a hand in changing Peters into something else.

This issue is mostly filled with action, and Jason Latour has done a terrific job of filling the scenes with some creepy images.  The creatures that come out of the fog are kind of like jellyfish-people, which he makes work, and his establishing shots are great.

When I first saw that Dark Horse was planning on flooding the shelves with BPRD mini-series this year, I was annoyed (for the same reasons I don't like Marvel's double-shipping of their titles), but I do really like the way they are using these short series to examine different aspects of the 'Hell on Earth' status quo in this series.  So long as they keep giving us new situations like this, with such terrific art, I'm going to be buying whatever they come out with.

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