B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth Volume 14: The Exorcist by Mike Mignola, Cameron Stewart, Chris Roberson, and Mike Norton
Dark Horse, 2016
Available: Trade paperback, Kindle edition, comiXology ebook
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth Volume 14: The Exorcist collects B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism #1–#2 and B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #140–#142.
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Exorcism was a 2 issue mini-series published from June to July 2012. The plot focuses on field agent Ashley Strode as she investigates a series of exorcisms in a rural Indiana town. After a failed exorcism, and angering the priest in control of the ritual, Agent Strode is deployed to a Mexican village after a demon commands her to release one of its brethren, or lose the soul of a child. Strode attempts to purge a demon from an aged, retired, exorcist, using a deadly rite that sends both of them into a spiritual hell.
B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Exorcist continues Agent Strode’s career. Strode is searching for missing children in a town called Yamsay, a small mining town that has fallen on hard times. She discovers the reason for the missing children in the abandoned, dilapidated house of the town’s founder, Eustice Coupland. His daughter, long deceased, tells Strode the story of her father’s secrets, and what happened to the missing children of Yamsay. What she doesn’t reveal is more sinister and dangerous than Agent Strode could ever imagine.
I was really impressed with the storytelling in this volume, especially when it comes to Agent Strode’s character development: she begins as a freshly minted rookie in the first story arc, and becomes a confident and capable field agent in the second. In The Exorcism storyline, she puts herself, and others, in danger: she can’t even bring herself to hand the priest the holy water, and then directly addresses the demon, who may or may not be lying to her. Her following interaction with the retired exorcist is what helps form her into the agent she becomes later. He warns her that she needs to be alert and trust in her abilities, especially when they enter the spiritual realm. In the second storyline, she’s working independently in Yamsay, and holds her own very well. I’m finding that I want to read more about her.
The book is also visually appealing. The demons, in particular, are unique and well-rendered. At the end of this volume is an artist’s sketchbook with notes about the creation of Ashely Strode, the demons, and more. This is a nice addition that allows you to see the creative energy that went into these storylines. Recommended.
Contains: some blood
Reviewed by Lizzy Walker