B.P.R.D. (Vol. 10): The Warning: The start of an excellent trilogy

B.P.R.D. (Vol. 10): The Warning by Mike MignolaB.P.R.D. (Vol. 10): The Warning by Mike Mignola (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Guy Davis (art), Dave Stewart (colors), and Clem Robins (letters) 

B.P.R.D. (Vol. 10): The Warning, along with B.P.R.D. (Vol. 11): The Black Goddess and B.P.R.D. (Vol. 14): King of Fear, make up the Scorched Earth Trilogy. In The Warning, Lobster Johnson becomes an important figure, so reading the Lobster Johnson series at this point might make sense for some readers, though the series can be read on its own. In other words, in The Warning, many of the strands from various parts of the Hellboy universe are starting to come together. At this point, if you haven’t read a good portion of the Hellboy series and the B.P.R.D. series up to volume ten, then you are going to very lost picking up this book. I suggest starting at the beginning with the Hellboy series.

In th The Warning, Johann is mysteriously quiet about a missing mystical knife; Abe Sapien leads a search party outside the base; and Dr. Kate Corrigan, Liz Sherman, Johann, and Panya gather for a séance to try to contact a troublesome ghost. In the process, they are given an odd warning about a figure from Panya’s past named Martin Gilfryd who was involved in occultist circles in the late 1800s. When Panya reaches out telepathically, her search for Gilfryd proves to be a more disturbing experience than she expected. The rest of the book is an elaborate search for Gilfryd, who at one point takes as hostage one of the team. Why did Gilfryd target this team member and what does he want with them?

These questions keep us turning the pages, but the artwork by Guy Davis is wonderful and makes us stop turning the pages. Davis really gets a chance to put together some jaw-dropping scenes, because before this book ends, there are great battles against frogs, underground monsters, and giant robot/machines. These scenes allow Davis’s art to really show us almost-believable battles between human and frog/monster/robot.

Before the volume ends, Abe has two visions, both of which suggest that things will get worse in the world before they get better, if, indeed, they ever can get better with the two-pronged attack currently happening on earth: One from the underground monsters and their machines and one from the frog creatures. Abe seems to have some role in the upcoming events, but the visions he has are unclear about what that role is exactly. This is another great B.P.R.D. volume, though it raises more questions than it provides answers. But that is expected since it’s the first in a trilogy of volumes. The Black Goddess is the next volume that will continue this story.

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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. Read Brad's series on HOW TO READ COMICS.

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  1. I recently read all the Hellboy Omnibus volumes as part of my quest to read Eisner Award winners. I thought they were all fantastic and intend to read all the short-story and B.P.R.D. volumes.

    • You’ll love the whole series if you liked the main Hellboy comics! Don’t forget the Abe Sapien books; they tie in to the B.P.R.D. plots in important ways. I highly recommend looking up online the correct order in which to read the individual volumes for the Hellboy Universe, because Abe Sapien should be read in part while reading one of the B.P.R.D. series.

      • It looks like there’s lots of stuff in between the volumes I’ve already read. When I was reading, I noticed some of the asterisks referenced stuff not in the omnibus volumes.

        • I’m not sure how the omnibus editions are collected (I read the smaller trade paperback editions). They might be referencing short stories that are not collected in those editions. I always have to rely on online sources to read in the correct order for series like this. The Mignola universe is quite large! But it’s also okay to read a few things out of order. It will all come together over time if you keep up with the series. I read everything once or twice, and now I’m rereading again to write these reviews. In my opinion, the comics hold up to multiple readings.

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