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REVIEWS BY PEDRO CABEZUELO The Return of the Mast erbrings together threads from recent stories and sets the stage for what promises to be a major

event for the BPRD. A sudden vicious monster attack in Scotland is linked to a possessed researcher, recently escaped from the special sciences service in Russia. As the BPRD scrambles to get someone to investigate, some of its members, including Agent Devon, Agent Kraus, Kate Corrigan and new recruit Fenix, try to come to terms with recent events. This issue exemplifies how BPRD has grown from its humble Hellboy beginnings into a force to be reckoned with. While light on action (but heavy on foreshadowing), every single character comes alive due to the always-strong writing by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi – no mean feat when dealing with a cast of dozens. Tyler Crook’s art serves the story well, giving each character his or her own visual cues, while admirably han- dling the more gruesome aspects. Another winner.

This comic reminded me of the ’90s output from companies such as Image and Chaos Comics

– for me, those books weren’t terribly ap- pealing, and neither is this one. Like many ti- tles from that era, Night Stalker is high on splashy, in-your- face art and slim on story. The overall plot revolves around a shape-changing death demon named Dyana, one of Hell’s premier bounty hunters, who is roaming the Earth

looking for escaped hellspawn. The book is filled with plenty of demon battles that fall somewhat flat because the reader doesn’t know or care enough about the participants. There is an entertaining in- terlude where Dyana finds her- self in the 1970s and partakes in a quick jive conversation at a disco; it’s the sort of cool and unique little moment the story could have used more of in the search for its own identity.

High school student Hunter Wilson finds a naked girl in his

swimming pool one Saturday night. Even more shocking, the girl, Celeste, turns out to be the former resident of his house, who had vanished, along with her mother, ten years earlier. Their disappearance has never been solved, although there were plenty of rumours specu-

lating alien abduction. Turns out the rumours were true, and Celeste has been sent back to protect the Earth from vicious, alien monsters. While the story may sound somewhat trite, Homecoming’s execu- tion is surprisingly strong, with plenty of likeable characters, a good pace and pleasing art. The story’s ending also hints at promising developments. One to keep an eye on.

Lobster Johnson must stop a group of pre- Nazi Germans from unleashing an innards-melting

virus on an unsuspecting New York City. A nice mini- adventure that mixes Indiana Jones-style action with a healthy dose of Indiana Jones-style horror, Lobster Johnson: Caput Mortuumwill satisfy those looking for a quick LJ fix. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi’s story zips along, and Tonci Zonjic’s art is perfect for the swashbuckling thrills it evokes. An ideal sam- pler for those unfamiliar with this great character.

As I type this, Dredd 3D has just crashed and burned

at the box office. Luckily, the Judge Dredd comics con- tinue to thrill new genera- tions of readers, and this collection, while not the best

JD material, offers a satisfying mix. Span- ning from 1983 to 2010, each of the four tales in this volume pits Dredd against furry, werewolf-like creatures. The first, and arguably the best, is by John Wagner and Alan Grant, with art by Steve Dillon. From 1983, “Cry of the Were- wolf” shows all the creators at the top of their game and is a perfect example of the satire, ac- tion and grit that made the character a power- house. The second tale, by Wagner and artist Carl Critchlow, is a direct sequel, but lacks the punch of its predecessor. The remaining two sto-

ries are not connected and, while entertaining, are missing the bite of the earlier narratives. However, the collection is still worth picking up for a taste of Dredd.

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