Ota Benga from B.P.R.D. 1947 returns as newcomer Ashley Strode is sent to him to deal with a demon he may have information on. Take the jump for an early Major Spoilers look at B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism #1.
B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH: EXORCISM #1
Writers: Mike Mignola and Cameron Stewart
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Clem Robins
Cover Artist: Viktor Kalvachev
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Previously in B.P.R.D.:The Earth has gone to hell, literally. Though some of Hell’s forces have been fought back or destroyed there are still plenty of problems for the B.P.R.D. to deal with.
Ashley Strode is a relative newcomer to the B.P.R.D., but with much of the veterans out of commission in some form she is the only acting field agent sent on the case. The story opens with an exorcism being performed in east Africa in 1890 that quietly touches on some of the issues of the time with a native Catholic priest and some soldiers that don’t want his help. The first is set up as a decent framing device as we jump to the exorcism Ashley is attending/aiding, and she is very much not in familiar territory. She mentions that it is her first live exorcism, and then proceeds to make a few mistakes, the last of which, making a deal with the demon to free another in order to free the boy, gets her sent to Mexico to find Ota Benga, a very old man and former B.P.R.D. agent. The scene is well done as we get a bit of the boss Kate Corrigan is becoming, pushing her agents with the right information.
The rest of the issue takes place in Mexico where we get to see the very old Ota Benga. He tells Ashley of the exorcism we saw early, he was the priest, and finishes where we left off revealing some very important info about the demon Ashley was told to free. The rest of the issue deals with them preparing to handle the demon she has been commanded to free. The few scenes here are well done as we get some more insight as to who Ashley is and some self-exploration from Ota. The book itself is also paced almost perfectly, which is saying something as I don’t tend to notice this, good or bad, but it was done that well. The reveals are also well placed as they come about around the same time you begin to think in that direction.
Ashley is very cute. Stewart manages to show just how out-of-her-element Ashley is in much of her expressions. Stewart also manages to reveal a bit of what we find out in a few panels in just simple look on Ashley’s face. Ota is also well done as both old and young look like they are the same man, despite the obvious signs of age that old Ota has. Old Ota is also a brilliantly done old man, looking about as broken as one can get without being hurt. Everything in the book looks good and comes together as a great piece.
BOTTOM LINE: Gonna be good
Agent Ashley Strode is a character I very much look forward to getting to know and B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism #1 is a great place for her to start. She also makes for an excellent PoV character as one of the few normals that hasn’t been working with the B.P.R.D. for ages, which is where the book really succeeds. We have a few interesting concepts here that should make for a good conclusion soon. With a bit lighter story than normal B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism #1 easily earns itself 4 out of 5 stars.