Sunday, 13 March 2011

Review - BPRD Vol.14: King Of Fear TPB

This book sees the end of the long-running ‘War on Frogs’ storyline that began way back in the first Hellboy series and has bothered this series since the very first volume. Unfortunately, it is quite a vague, disappointing ending, which I didn’t really understand, mainly because the Hellboy universe is now so bogged down in continuity that I think I needed to go back and re-read all the previous volumes, and all the Hellboy books, before I started this one. Even then, I doubt I would have followed everything, because a lot of what happened was not shown, and will no doubt be slowly revealed in future volumes, so this wasn’t really the end of the story at all.

Guy Davis’ art looks fantastic, as usual, and this series is almost worth buying for the art alone. But I’m afraid I need a story that I can follow, too, and I’ve now given up all hope of ever getting back into this series, which is a shame because I like the BPRD concept and characters more than I like Hellboy. If I thought that future volumes would be more self-contained, I would probably stick with this series, but Mike Mignola’s afterword to this book, and the last chapter of the story, both make it clear that an even bigger sequence of stories is about to begin, so I think I will probably use this volume as a jumping-off point. Life is too short, and my finances are too tight, for me to go committing myself to another few years’ worth of stories that don’t pay off.

This volume has a recommended retail price of £13.50 / $17.99 but I got my copy from Amazon, where it is currently £8.74. (Note: If anyone wants to buy fourteen BPRD books, I’ll be listing all mine on eBay in the next couple of days.)

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