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B.P.R.D. -- War on Frogs #1

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2008
By: Marx Pyle

John Arcudi
Herb Trimpe, Dave Stewart (c), Guy Davis (i), Clem Robins
Dark Horse Comics
"Big. Small. They can still die." -- Roger the Homunculus

War on Frogs #1 is the first of four one-shot pick-ups from the two-part story from MySpace / Dark Horse Presents. This story takes place before the events of B.P.R.D.: The Black Flame and chronicles the B.P.R.D.'s (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) fight against the frog monsters via the perspective of each member. The lead character in this issue (since Abe Sapien refuses to go back into the field) is Roger the Homunculus. So, everyone's favorite gray undead dude who needs pants lays the smack down on two frog monsters with a mother complex in Cavendish Hall.

OK, disclaimer time. I loved the Hellboy movie, but have read very few comic books set in the Hellboy universe. Recently I started reading Abe Sapien: The Drowning, as I have a new goal to catch up on what I've been missing. So, keep in mind that I'm a bit green when it comes to Hellboy and B.P.R.D. books.

But, perhaps that newbie factor plays an important role in my opinion of this book. Where as a Hellboy book or Abe Sapien mini-series has some accessibility for me after seeing the movie, this mini-series has very little.

There was little exposition explaining what exactly Roger was, except for a few hints in his internal dialogue. The exposition on the event in Hellboy: Seed of Destruction helped set the stage, but I still wasn't exactly sure what the frogs were. Sorry, but this is not a good book for new readers to jump into. It is more for those fans who are looking for more detail about an important event in the Hellboy-verse.

The story was pretty straightforward, a little too straightforward. While I appreciated the internal dialogue from Roger -- it helped me learn more about this character -- it just wasn't that interesting of a book. I'm sure I would have liked it better if I had read the others that were set around this time.

The art had a sort of EC horror comic feel, which was interesting, but overall I was a little disappointed. I like Mike Mignola's (Hellboy) and Jason Shawn Alexander's (Abe Sapien: The Drowning) art styles better.

Either way the story was good enough to at least compel me to Google who the heck Roger is and what these frog monsters are. Now I'm eager to read Hellboy: Seed of Destruction and it definitely hasn't hurt my desire to read more Hellboy books. It's just that as a stand-alone book it was kind of a disappointment, but perhaps I should withhold final judgment until I read the other three books and see how the overall mini-series reads.

Final Word: If you are already a big Hellboy / B.P.R.D. fan, then hop on over to your comic book shop and pick it up. If you are new to the series, then avoid this book and first pick-up earlier books in the series.



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