B.P.R.D. Volume 11: The Black Goddess Paperback – Nov 3 2009
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
That's what i liked about the tale - the complexity here - but I also found myself questioning if i liked the book itself. There is a lot of time devoted to fight scenes, a lot of it in fact, and some of that time seems like it would have been better spent explaining other things. I suppose that is the problem with books working as story arcs - sometimes the arc is just a filler arc and sometimes it holds all the keys to the kingdom. This is even more true when it comes to the BPRD stories because some of them are convoluted and some of them are filled with little monsters, clogging the potential of the story. This happens in this book, allowing a lot of explanation in some places but a lot of struggle in others. The one thing I did like here was the harnessing of Liz and the showcase of her true potential, some clues as to what Liz may or may not be, a look into the eternity the "bad guy" here has spent, and an explanation as to what the monsters in this saga might possibly be up to. There is also a clash between the modern and the ancient, showing just how cocky people can be. And perhaps we sometimes need reminders of that - even if it is an Abraham's tank kicking it against a monstrous beastie with claws the size of a keep.
Should someone buy this? Well, not out of order and not without wanting some BPRD. This is not the best thing I have read from the BPRD camp, and i can't say I was impressed by what has come so far. I am also not saying that this arc will not finish beautifully because it may. Only time will tell about this. I just know that you should not buy this without the first portion of the arc to help you decide because, frankly, it will confuse you out-of-order. and we don't need that - not when you are trying to read about something that has lived through Atlantis and beyond.
The B.P.R.D. regulars and a Special Forces unit end up at his evil Shangri-La on the Sakhan-Chinese border. They find themselves between a rock and a hard place: Memnan Saa and followers on one side, the frog/subterraneans on the other. The soldiers end up fighting with the followers - with their Yeti general - against the invaders.
The B.P.R.D. argues with Memnan Saa over the fate of Liz. There is usually one thing about each book in this series that makes them worth the price of purchase. Their philosophical argument over the fate of Liz and the course of the war, oddly for an action series, makes this one special. The agents are no more interested in a debate than the typical comic book geek. They want Liz back, period. Like true Americans, they want the upcoming war to have as few casualties as possible. Memnan tries to reason with the angry, rude Abe and the curious Kate Corrigan. He tells them his very interesting origin story. He tells them what Liz the fire starter truly is - a reincarnation of Heca-Emen-Ra, the fire bringer, the female Prometheus of Hyperborea. An entity who can, among other things, create dragons to fight frogs, just in the nick of time. Memnan doesn't want to work with the B.P.R.D. They aren't cruel enough. "What are you willing to lose to win?" Memnan is willing to sacrifice most of humanity to save the remnant. He doubts that less stern measures will have any effect.
This ends predictably. Memnan sighs over their refusal to accept his wisdom. They are get in a fight. One B.P.R.D. member - the demoralized Johann Kraus - is killed, the balloon that held his ectoplasm being popped. And, as you would expect, Liz, who all this time has been floating in a lotus position, turns on Memnan when he begins to hurt her friends, then wakes up without remembering anything. What a disappointment. It would be more interesting if she woke up changed, as Martin Gilfyrd was changed to Memnan Saa.
I will give Mignola, etc., credit for one thing. I don't know what will happen next, but I am very interested in seeing/reading it.
Lobster Johnson is my favourite Mignola character and I was very excited to see him back and doing what he does best - killing the bad guy.
Ultimately, I’m pretty confused by this tale – it wasn’t the nutty brain twister that I expected, but the writers have taken the tale in cool directions, and it’s still very interesting. Mignola takes a break from resolving the tale, and for the next 10 issues of the comic (and for the next two collections), he doesn’t get back to Scorched Earth – that happens in collection 14.
Lots of sketches at the back, and then some three-page essay praising the “Masked Claw” Mexican Lobster Johnson-inspired TV series, which probably never existed…
I was a bit let down by the previous stories in The Warning because I found it to confusing and not really going anywhere. It felt like a set up and there were meaningless character interactions which drew me away from the plot like the budding romance between Kate and the German guy. Anyway I write about that in another review, back to these stories.
The art goes from strength to strength, Guy Davies does it again. When I read a comic the most important thing is the art. Art is number one. If it wasn't I'd go read a novel with no pictures and let my mind do the artwork. So this volume delivers on that - big time. After the art comes the story, if the art is good but the story is bad I'll still enjoy it to some level but if the story is good and the art is bad forget about it. The good news is that BOTH are top notch here, the pudding does come with a cherry on top!
Bringing back the Black Goddess and Hyperborian stories from The Island was always going to work for me as that stuff was just cool. I like the sense of ancient history in this book as if this conflict has been going on for thousands of years involving races, people, empires and things of great power. Also the way the Lobster Johnson was meshed into the story was done well, which hasn't always happened in previous stories. The writers managed to give us a big payoff for waiting so long, lots of information is given in this story, and even better most of it makes sense!
BPRD really has come out of it's shell and these guys have hit their stride. They are on top of their game and it's great to see it happening. If you have stuck with the series reading this book will be a buzz. I can't wait for the next one
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