Review by Frank Plowright
Although released early in the B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth sequence, Being Human is unconnected, instead resembling the earliest B.P.R.D. collections in gathering together a number of short stories.
The longest of them has a surly teenage Liz Sherman accompany Trevor Bruttenholm to New England and a haunted church. Mike Mignola is credited as a writer, but presumably in terms of broad outline, as B.P.R.D. editor Scott Allie is also involved and it’s disappointing when ranked against the collaborations of Mignola and John Arcudi. Pages of exposition and speculation about the killing of a possible witch in the 17th century are accompanied by repetitive storytelling, and what’s intended as a form of life lesson learned for Liz is clumsily handled. Karl Moline’s art defines people and personalities (sample left), but the screaming sound effect lettering in the background is intrusive.
‘Casualties’ is set in 1981 and a now adult Liz is accompanying Abe Sapien on missions. Also written by Mignola and Allie, it’s a brief conversation showing she’s at least come to terms with her position, and nicely drawn by regular series artist Guy Davis.
Mignola writes the title story solo, as Hellboy takes the then newly retrieved homunculus Roger out on a mission to investigate why four family members buried in a crypt are sitting themselves around a table in their long abandoned house. Richard Corben brings this to life (sample right), maintaining a superbly spooky atmosphere, his staging and lighting phenomenally good. It’s by some distance the best story here, and for Corben’s fans it’s surely worth picking up the collection for this alone. Or alternatively the Being Human one-shot.
Ben Stenbeck’s art on ‘The Electoplasmic Man’ is also noteworthy, including the creation of a memorable monster. It’s the first experiences of Johann Kraus as a spirit before being confined to his containment suit, nicely conveyed by Mignola and Arcudi.
With over half the story content being the disappointing ‘The Dead Remembered’ it’s difficult to recommend Being Human as a collection, but there is work of interest. It’s also worth noting that as of writing the content hasn’t been gathered into any of the bulkier B.P.R.D. collections.