Cassie’s Dark Horse Comics Review: B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH: THE DEVIL’S ENGINE #1

Things are continuing their downward descent throughout the world as agent Andrew Devon tries to bring newly captured attempted murderer Fenix to B.P.R.D. headquarters. Meanwhile, at the Zinco Corporation, horrifying experiments are being performed by men in containment suits on a suspiciously familiar looking dead body.

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What do we know thus far? The majority of the characters have been featured throughout the B.P.R.D. mythos, specifically Fenix, Andrew and the company Zilco, and the series is progressing as intended, with the end of the world. Hell on Earth: Pickens County Horror gave us a wide scope for the destruction of earth and this issue explores another tiny piece of the puzzle- although judging from the cover, not the smallest piece.

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The newest Hell on Earth title opens up with B.P.R.D. agent Andrew Devon escorting psychic Fenix out of a volcano erupting New Mexico. You might remember Fenix as the woman who shot and incapacitated Abe Sapien pre Hell on Earth: Russia and who Andrew has been tracking down ever since. Her reasons for shooting poor Abe are still unknown, but it’s definitely sad that it took such a great character out of the equation.

Most intriguing thus far is the continued dynamic between Andrew and Fenix, the central focus of the majority of this opening issue. Andrew is taking her by train up North but she has an uneasy feeling about the whole thing. Fenix does not get visions like a normal psychic, but rather is stricken with a particular feeling, her current feeling telling her not to get on the train. However, her Rottweiler Bruiser is on-board and she is remiss to leave him. Rather than take her psychic feelings seriously, Andrew is of the opinion she’s crazy, neurotic, or worse. There is a lot of tension throughout the text here.

The big event however, which is briefly touched upon occurs at Zinco headquarters, where boss Herr Marsten is showing his assistant Evelyn his old mentor’s Nazi memorabilia. This is only the icing on the evil cake as the next scene reveals him entering a chamber where bizarre experiments are taking place. Headed by the company, these blatantly nefarious tests are being performed on a body with a suspiciously large left hand. The cover also hints at this same idea.

Ultimately, not a lot occurs aside from basic plot throughout this issue, it’s mostly just set up for what’s to come in this three-part arc. Although there is one big action scene at the end that you will probably have seen coming, most of the excitement is merely hinted at. Mike Mignola’s first issues are generally enshrouded in mystery and merely set the tone, this opening being not much different. It is however one of his stronger beginnings. Readers will be excited to see all these ideas come to fruition.

Story: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Art: Tyler Crook
Cover: Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart
32 Pages/FC
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4 Stars