Comics Time: B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #4

B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #4

John Arcudi, writer

Peter Snejbjerg, artist

Dark Horse, December 2009

32 pages

$2.99

I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be happy that Dave Stewart didn’t color a Hellboyverse book. But on this New Comics Wednesday, the best colorist in the front of Previews finds himself stranded in Brown Town in the pages of Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s Vertigo series debut Daytripper. And he’s left colorist Bjarne Hansen to absolutely kill it in conjunction with artist Peter Snejbjerg in this concluding issue of the gap-filling series of glorified BPRD one-shots. Generally he hews close to Stewart’s long-established palette of full blues, reds, and greens, designed to contrast against the usual washes of black (and if I’m not mistaken derived from Matt Hollingsworth’s work in the initial Hellboy miniseries). But in the issue’s spectacular climax, he adds flourescents that wouldn’t look out of place in Tron; it’s something we’ve never seen before in Mignola World, and the effect is a stunning way to suggest the Otherness of what we’re looking at. Further, Snejbjerg’s art, already a winning riff on Guy Davis’s model that smoothes out some of the rough edges in favor of a wispy vulnerability, is put through a focus-blurring filter, as if poor Johann Kraus’s view of the next world literally can’t be visually comprehended. It’s a lovely, clever, and chilling way to drive home the story by John Arcudi, which is yet another tale of one of our ostensible heroes realizing he’s in way, way over his head but continuing to struggle simply because the alternative is unbearable to contemplate. The quality control for this ever-expanding franchise during the course of this decade is one of contemporary genre comics’ minor miracles, and this issue is a happy example, and by happy I of course mean melancholy and pessimistic as Hell.