Volume fifteen, Cometh the Hour, is a fantastic wrap-up to the B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth series. The separate storylines come together as we watch the world burn and suffer from the giant monsters roaming the earth, birthing new creatures by the minute. It’s a wonderfully horrific vision of the ending of our planet with only a few brave souls standing in the way to total annihilation. The volume opens showing the military using the last of their operable large missiles, firing all of them at once at the largest of the creatures, the one doing the most damage and birthing the most creatures. And the result? Nothing. The monster is unfazed by the hits. The military has nothing left to offer us.
Meanwhile, Johann, in a special suit, the last available to him, continues to fight the monsters with Liz, the Firestarter. The two of them are the only ones capable of defeating the creatures, but the two of them can take out only one at a time, and they are multiplying by the hundreds, by the thousands. The scenes with them fighting are gorgeous in their violence, and Laurence Campbell, aided by the colors of Dave Stewart, is perhaps at his best in these sequences.
Kate is back at the base with Panya, and they are contemplating evacuating as the monsters continue to get closer, but they are pushing it too close to the end, and casualties seem inevitable. Fenix is off fighting, separated from her dog who is back at the base. Each person is taking on what she can to win this battle, but not all will survive, and there are some terrible moments of destruction and death as we say goodbye to some of the best characters ever created in comics.
Meanwhile, Iosif Nichayko is on a journey with Varvara, and she, once a devil in Hell, leads Iosif across the destroyed landscape that seems to be a mix of Hell and Earth. They seek out the seat of hell, Pandemonium, which rests on the back of three of the original angels that defied God. Finding destruction also in Hell, Varvara will discover a tool, a relic, to release the gigantic, chained ancient angels. Mignola reveals some lore that connects these angels with the creatures roaming the earth and what the angels seek now that they are freed from their burden.
The climax of all these tales leads us back to Johann in a brilliant sequence as he seeks to save the Earth from the monsters. And afterwards, we get a new vision of a post-apocalyptic world. But all this sets up the final trilogy of volumes in the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. storyline (except flashback stories told filling in between the discovery of Hellboy and this apocalypse): B.P.R.D. The Devil You Know, in which Varvara figures prominently.
So, while this is the end of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, it is not quite the final story of the B.P.R.D. And you’ll want to pick those volumes up immediately after finishing this book, the 29th volume in the B.P.R.D series, if we include the fourteen volumes of the original B.P.R.D. comics (and yet there are even more if we include B.P.R.D. 1946-1948, B.P.R.D. Vampire, B.P.R.D. Being Human, the Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. comics, etc.). These, combined with the original Hellboy comics, the Hellboy in Hell comics, and more, equal over fifty volumes, not including Abe Sapien comics, which also are essential to the overall story. All in all, it is quite an undertaking to decide to tackle the Hellboy universe. But it is worth it — every minute spent reading it and every dollar spent acquiring it. I cannot speak highly enough of this concluding volume and the Hellboy world overall. To read the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. comics is a unique and wonderful literary experience. I hope its audience continues to grow over the years.