Pulp #636

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Pulp #636

Hold on to your pants kids, it’s time for another Pulp! Hope you’re all doing well and all that. I also hope you’re in the mood for some paranormal horror, because that’s exactly what you’re getting this week!

This time around, I’ve picked up B.P.R.D Hell on Earth’s volume 1, New World. While I generally prefer to stay away from Dark Horse stuff – TV show continuations and movie spinoffs usually don’t interest me – the Hellboy universe is the one exception to that rule. The creepy, Lovecraftian horror and Mike Mignola’s blocky, thick-lined art style really work together. And while I haven’t read anywhere near enough of it it’s one series that I’m always happy to pick up.

New World sees the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence facing more threats than ever before, and on a global scale – the whole world seems to have taken a swan dive into the realm of the paranormal. Monsters, ghosts and other ghoulish creatures are popping up all over the world, with catastrophic consequences. Dr Kate Corrigan struggles to keep her team from fracturing, while desperately trying to keep up with the workload that comes with going global and being closely supervised by the UN. Meanwhile, Abe Sapien, fish man extraordinaire, takes an expedition into the woods, chasing a creature that’s been preying on small towns and dumping its victims in sinkholes.

While Dark Horse bills New World as the perfect jumping-on point for new readers – the main reason I picked up this book, really – it really isn’t that great an introduction. Not because the story’s bad – Mignola’s writing is great, as usual – but because the story assumes you’ll have knowledge of the story from before the current volume. While I was able to work out a good portion of it (Google helped, not gonna lie), I don’t think it’s going to be as good of a jumping-on point as Dark Horse would like.

Gripes about accessibility aside, I really enjoyed New World. While I didn’t necessarily understand all of the references to the prior events, the friction amongst team members – as a result of the aforementioned storyline – meant that an already tense situation was on the brink of exploding.

Abe’s hunt for the life-draining monster makes for a great story too. In addition to Lovecraftian horrors, there’s high emotions as Abe encounters a banished member of the team and attempts to unravel the mystery of the woman and her baby seemingly trying to stay one step ahead of the horror.

One thing I do miss, however, is Mignola’s artwork; while Mignola has at least co-written the story, the art is handled by Guy Davis (Sandman Mystery Theatre) and while it is at least similar, it lacks the impact of Mignola’s signature art style. Despite a few minor complaints, overall I found New World to be an enjoyable book. It seems to fit into the established Hellboy/B.P.R.D universe with ease (as you would hope), and despite not fully understanding bits and pieces of the story I still had a hell of a lot of fun reading it. It’s dark, a little spooky and it cemented my love for Mignola’s work (hell, I even went out and bought another volume straight after reading it, which is a rare thing these days).

Written by Alastair McGibbon