Sirk TV Graphic Novel Review: B.P.R.D – HELL ON EARTH VOL. 12 – METAMORPHOSIS [Dark Horse]
The ideas with the world of Hellboy revolve around identity and understanding who we truly are in the scheme of things. Red always had trouble with that. One of the things that “Hellboy II” as a movie did introduce with a definite bit of structure was “Kraus” who was the spirit that seemed to live in an ether. The interesting thing about him was his undeniable sense of optimism despite the fact that he was literally formless. The intention of “B.P.R.D: Hell On Earth Vol. 12 – Metamorphosis” [Mike Mignola & John Arcudi/Dark Horse/144pgs] has Kraus put to the test as he leads some marines in this story to take out a village hoarding an enemy creature. When one of the marines doesn’t agree with his tactics he is shot by the opposing side and Kraus takes over his body using the dead carcass to get the mission done. He doesn’t make the connection of the emotional problem of this and because of this action becomes disassociated from his team. Liz, the on/off girlfriend of Hellboy, tries to make him see that this is something he has to come to terms with because he, in essence, cannot die whereas others can. In order to show some semblance of empathy, he frees himself from his tomb-like suit only to find things are bad on all sides. He then tries to take on the guise of a robot form but starts to lose sight again of himself until one of his men is killed. Kraus, like Pinocchio, wants to be real because there is a sense of risk…a sense of loss. He seems to feel only emptiness in his current state. This seems to be related in the art. There is a sense of distance and isolation in the cells which is aided by muted oranges and grays. But, in the greater mythology, it gives a subtle yet pointed look into the issues of one of the most integral and mysterious members of the B.P.R.D. team.
By Tim Wassberg