ADVANCE REVIEW! BPRD: Hell On Earth: Monsters #1 will come out on July 13, 2011.
Liz Sherman has exiled herself in a trailer park somewhere. Over the course of this issue Liz beats down a redneck then has a bad dream, there’s something creepy and ominous on the news, someone kicks a frog, there’s some domestic violence, more frogs show up, then some really bad things go down. Don’t let this simplistic summary fool you, this is a fantastic issue. Though I haven’t followed the series recently and don’t know what events took place to lead up to this situation, I was instantly intrigued, and never felt lost. I’m sure there were details that regular readers would catch that were lost on me, but this issue was perfectly accessible for new readers.
The pacing is perfect and the dialogue is tight and witty. I always cringe when comics take place in trailer parks because it usually means lots of dumb redneck jokes. That wasn’t the case here. While there was some humorous stereotypical behavior, it never felt clichéd. The characters were believable and their conversations were clever (even if the characters themselves were not). The story slowly builds to a surprising climax that turns the story on its head and will make you want to see what happens next.
Tyler Crook is new to this book but his art is a perfect fit. His portrayal of Liz is particularly impressive. Her pain and frustration is apparent in every frame. The art adds to the dark atmosphere of the story with resorting to being literally dark. Each scene, whether it be a bottle-ridden poker game or a grisly murder, is beautifully detailed. Even the more sparsely detailed panels (like the frog kick) are significant. If there was any doubt as to whether this series is in good hands with Crook, those doubts can be laid to rest.
This is another solid chapter in a consistently quality series. As with most of Mignola’s stories, this is a small glimpse of something much larger and you can be confident that it’s worth the wait to see the big picture. If you’re already a fan of the series, you don’t need convincing. If you’re new to it, this is a fine jumping-on point.