By d. emerson eddy — Hellboy celebrated its 25th anniversary just last month. Honouring the plucky little creation of Mike Mignola that began in 1994 featuring a red demon with a funny hand, a pyrokinetic, and a fish guy in a bad disguise searching out frog monsters and a Russian madman. That initial series, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, planted a figurative seed in the imagination of the world and it would bloom into a multimedia juggernaut. Bearing fruit in the form of Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder, Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and others, as well as its sister series, BPRD, taking the flowers from that seed and cross-pollinating a wide field of wonder, running with the characters who accompanied Hellboy in those earlier stories and building a fully-realized world for the agents of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.
It has been a long road to get here, with characters going their own separate ways, characters dying, characters changing in unexpected ways, frog monsters threatening to rule the Earth, a whole load of crazy Nazis, vampires, ancient gods, werewolves, ghosts, a whole load of skeletons and witches, giant earthshaking monsters, and it all circles back to a red demon with a funny hand, a pyrokinetic, and a fish guy. It comes back home to Hellboy, Liz Sherman, and Abe Sapien, transformed and changed in countless ways, as everything ends.
It both is and isn't what you think. Mike Mignola and his collaborators have always been good at executing upon the promises of their previous stories, but in unexpected ways, and both Mignola and Scott Allie do so here. This is the end that was promised by Rasputin, this is the fate that was hinted at by Hecate and countless others in between, but it's not entirely what we think, proving Abe and Liz as integral to the new world as Hellboy. And it really is incredible, especially thinking about what could possibly come next. What strange new world awaits ahead of us in time?
This final issue splits the line art duties between Laurence Campbell—who has been bringing life to the Bureau since about halfway through Hell on Earth, originally rotating with Tyler Crook and James Harren, then taking over regularly at the end of that arc and guiding us through most of The Devil You Know—and Mike Mignola himself to close out the story. Dave Stewart again proves a master of washes and spot colours, adapting to the inky haze of Campbell's work to the stark solid shapes of Mignola's. The artwork is beautiful, haunting, and there's an image of Liz that will just destroy you. Holding it together is Clem Robins' letters, not even missing a “BOOOOM” for old time's sake.
This has been an amazing journey over these past years, with countless incredible moments from Mignola and his countless collaborators—especially John Arcudi and Guy Davis, who helped build so much of the feel and atmosphere of the Bureau originally in Plague of Frogs—and it is brought to a beautiful conclusion from Mignola, Allie, Campbell, Stewart, and Robins here in BPRD: The Devil You Know #15. Thank you for this epic story. I highly recommend diving into the Hellboy universe to everyone, especially with the knowledge that they stuck the landing.
BPRD: The Devil You Know #15
Writers: Mike Mignola & Scott Allie
Artists: Laurence Campbell & Mike Mignola
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Clem Robins
Publisher: Dark Horse
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d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on Twitter @93418.