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This trade paperback collects the five-issue BPRD: The Dead series along with the stand-alone “Born Again” story, used here as a Prologue (though it’s not really connected with the main storyline).

Note: This review features mild plot spoilers — read at your own risk.

As we’ve seen from the last couple BPRD collections, the strange frog-like humanoids who are attempting to take over all of North America (reminiscent, of course, of Lovecraftian Deep Ones)are still at it and the BPRD is engaged in a full-scale war.  And they’re more or less losing.  The frogs are steadily moving westward and encroaching on increasingly populated areas.  To better continue the fight, the BPRD relocates its headquarters to an abandoned military base carved into the side of a mountain in Colorado.  Why yes, there are hidden sub-basement levels and lots of strange, mysteries down there, why do you ask?

Our pals are assigned a new field team leader, with Kate Corrigan and Abe Sapien out of the picture (we’ll get to them in a minute), and that turns out to be Captain Ben Daimio, a special forces officer who has returned from he dead.  He’s abrasive and there’s friction galore between him and the rest of the team, but I like him.

Ah yes, back to Abe and Kate.  They are exploring Abe’s mysterious past and in New England.  This isn’t a bad storyline at all – I think it’s actually really good – but Kate really isn’t used at all, so that’s a missed opportunity, and it’s not at all integrated into the main storyline.  In any case, we learn some additional tantalizing hints about what Abe was doing before he was…Abe.

Back to the main storyline: the BPRD discovers an old Nazi scientist who had been trapped down in one of the new headquarters’ sub-basements for the last fifty years.  They free him, of course, which turns out to be an extremely bad idea, as he’s insane and uses his own body as a kind of fleshy portal to an evil otherworldly entity.  Ooops.

By this point in the BPD run, Mike Mignola has turned over art duties to Guy Davis (I happen to like his work, though he can’t draw Liz Sherman worth a darn) and has picked up Jon Arcudi as a co-writer.  That writing transition is seamless here, and the book in no way suffers from having Arcudi onboard.

This is an absolutely outstanding collection and I highly recommend it.  Great characterization and story.  I give it 5 stars out of 5.

Review copyright 2010 J. Andrew Byers