Review by Frank Plowright
Cometh the Hour ends the Hell on Earth sequence begun fourteen volumes previously. The series began with the circumstances of the world changed when saved at the end of Plague of Frogs, and while much has been smaller stories set within the new world, Mike Mignola and John Arcudi have always moved the bigger picture forward toward this five chapter climax.
Although The Exorcist was the previous volume it was unconnected with the bigger story, which continues from End of Days, when the B.P.R.D. realised that manifestations of monstrosities were no longer random, and their Colorado headquarters was now a target. What’s also changed is that there’s now a dragon of almost unimaginable size birthing one giant monster after another, and those monsters were problematical enough individually. That’s all easily enough understood, but the mystery is perpetuated by Iosef, who closed off the previous volume by releasing what he knows to be a terrifying threat, begging the question of whether he was ever in control.
The joy of Cometh the Hour is that despite the massive ongoing threats, the concentration is on the people. That hasn’t always been Laurence Campbell’s greatest strength, but he delivers every emotional moment here, tragedy alongside elation. His strength is the scenes of smoky devastation, of terrors not entirely seen through the chaos they cause. Part of that is also because they’re so massive they can only be completely viewed from a distance. It’s an artistic tour de force, and Dave Stewart’s muted, gloomy colours seal the deal.
A logical and weirdly Biblical means of combatting what’s been happening occurs, perhaps indicated by the quote providing the title, but it’s also a left field solution, not anything that’s been greatly foreshadowed, and therefore visually thrilling, but mentally unsatisfying. That’s a feeling accentuated by the B.P.R.D. at the end of the day certainly fighting a brave battle with tragic consequences, but ultimately irrelevant when it comes to saving the day. It does seal the notion of humanity ultimately being powerless in the face of universal forces, but is that what we want to read? One member plays a greater part at the final knockings, but that’s also rather vague. As a standalone story Cometh the Hour would stand tall, but as the conclusion to an epic occupying so many books it falls a little short.
There’s no faulting the action and the spiritual discussions, and by the time Cometh the Hour ends the B.P.R.D. is a very different organisation whose story concludes in The Devil You Know, although is next seen in the past as Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. This story is combined with those leading to it in B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth 5.