B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth (Vol. 3): Russia by Mike Mignola and others B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth (Vol. 3): Russia by Mike Mignola (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Tyler Crook (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer).

As in all my reviews of long series, I do give spoilers for previous books in the series, so I can now mention the major event of volume 2: Abe is shot by the runaway teenager Fenix, and at the close of the volume, Abe seems to be brain dead and barely alive physically. I can also mention what happened when he was shot: Devon observed the shooting, but he not only did not arrest the girl, he let her go. And he reported officially that he had no idea who shot Abe. We find out at the beginning of this book that Devon has been sent to find Fenix (and who shot Abe, if possible). Devon travels the railroads in boxcars, seeking for word of Fenix.

Meanwhile, Johann and Kate fly to Moscow to investigate a supernatural event. They meet with the director there, who seems more forthcoming than his associates, but he has secret plans for Johann, believing that Johann can perhaps communicate with the “spirit” of one of the monsters that the Russians have trapped within a man. That man first encountered the supernatural forces that possessed him in a tunnel, and to that tunnel, Johann is determined to return, so he does not tell Kate where he is going until the operation is underway.

The operation is a dangerous one, and it takes place in the midst of strange activity: The dead are rising from graves and constructing a structure that a monster can use as a nest once it is fully grown. Johann goes in with men to kill the monster, against Kate’s wishes. This is a great horror story, with Johann down below ground, surrounded by men who can be turned into attacking monsters at the will of the primary monster Johann seeks to destroy.

The outcome is surprising in the way it plays out, particularly since Johann can inhabit dead, and even decaying, bodies. Mignola always allows for the horrific in his comics, and this one is no different. I have never been a fan of horror in film, TV, or novels, but Mignola has made a horror fan of me (along with DC’s long-running Hellblazer). I absolutely love the horrific and grotesque that find their way into the Mignola books, with the Hellboy universe brimming with creatures and monsters of all types. This volume will not disappoint the horror fan. This is another five-star book from Mignola.


  • Brad Hawley

    BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

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