B.P.R.D. (Vol. 14): King of Fear: The End of a Hellboy Universe Trilogy

B.P.R.D. (Vol. 14): King of Fear by Mike Mignola and othersB.P.R.D. (Vol. 14): King of Fear by Mike Mignola (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Guy Davis (art), Dave Stewart (colors), and Clem Robins (letters)

B.P.R.D. (Vol. 14): King of Fear continues the story started in volumes 10: The Warning and 11: The Black Goddess, and since it is deep into the history of the Hellboy universe, this is not the place to start reading Hellboy or B.P.R.D. Instead, start with Hellboy volume one. These volumes do not read well out-of-order.

In King of Fear, the surprising return of Lobster Johnson at the end of volume 11 is explained: He has somehow taken over Johann’s form, and Johann seems to have vanished in his being replaced by the Lobster. Kate returns to Munich with Lobster Johnson in tow, and she meets up with her romantic interest, Bruno. Bruno and Kate go on a journey together in hopes that Lobster Johnson’s soul will find peace and allow Johann a chance to come back and re-inhabit his special suit.

Meanwhile, back in Colorado at the B.P.R.D. base, Abe worries about the way the subterranean race they’ve discovered has joined up with the frogs in attacking the human world across the planet. However, the military has withdrawn their support of the B.P.R.D. since so many died (in volume 11) in facing down the frogs and underground creatures outside Gilfryd’s hidden valley. Therefore, Abe and Devon go with B.P.R.D. personnel to seek out a possible location for these creatures. Liz leads the way. And unfortunately, Gilfryd seems able to still haunt Liz even after he has died at Liz’s hand (in volume 11).

Things get worse before they get better, and we meet the enemies of the B.P.R.D., and of the world, as they gather to destroy our world as we know it, killing all of humanity, to make way for a new existence on the planet with old and ancient mystical forces taking over. Liz falls to her knees in fear and trembling in reaction to her vision, and Abe is reminded yet again that he has a central role to play in the impending apocalypse.

As this final volume of the trilogy comes to a close, all the members of the B.P.R.D. are accounted for to a certain extent, but one teammate wanders off alone for a time. The B.P.R.D. are given support from a surprising source, and the end of the world, still immanent, is approaching fast. What role will Abe play in events coming to fruition, and will Liz be able to stop the future from unfolding as so far foretold? These questions remain unanswered. Reading the events that follow the end of the B.P.R.D. series takes us to the next series in the Hellboy universe’s grand story: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth volumes 1-15.

 


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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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