Story by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Art by Laurence Campbell
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Clem Robins
Review by Jason Kahler
BPRD: The Devil You Know rejoins the members of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense after the stories found in the BPRD: Hell on Earth series that ended last year.
Readers who maybe only know Mignolaverse characters from the two Hellboy movies would be well-served to scroll through the Hellboy Wiki pages, because there is lots of history–and tons of comics–that have led the BPRD to this point. I enjoy Mignola’s work, and have a passing understanding of the characters beyond Hellboy and the movies, but I found myself a little lost among the callbacks to previous stories.
The book opens with a BPRD field agent defeating a pleasingly Lovecraftian monster.
Later, we are treated to an exorcism.
Later still, the book features a dream, an attack by pod creatures BPRD agents call “crickets,” and a little girl with probably-demon powers who is building a cult.
There’s a lot to take in, and not very much is explained. Perhaps loyal readers will be on board straight away, but I had some work to do, and I’m not satisfied that I have my arms wrapped around all the book’s concepts and characters.
That’s all right. I don’t need everything spelled out for me all the time, and as this is the first issue of an arc, the book is mostly concerned with getting all the pieces in the right places.
Mignola isn’t on art duties, but Laurence Campbell draws in Mignola’s language. The book is great to look at.
I really want to call-out the writing here. The fight with the crickets results in the death of a BPRD field agent. The reaction of one of his teammates is emotional without feeling exploitative. I think if I was more familiar with the characters, this would have really hit home. Even with my limited background, the death was still very powerful.
I enjoyed this book, and if you buy it, I think you will, too. Jumping on to a long-running comic universe can seem daunting, but your efforts will be rewarded.