Sometimes following a story long enough means that you become heavily invested in the characters and the events, so when things begin to gradually take a downward spiral for our favorite characters, it can make for a far more interesting story. If you have been reading B.P.R.D., then you know that many of the characters in this series have been struggling quite a bit. The issue opens with a brief recap of everything that has been taking place these last hundred plus issues: from the loss of their charter that allowed them to deal with international problems, to the fact that Abe Sapien is "on the verge of death." This series is a little bit complicated, so having that recap at the start is very helpful.
The story opens rather differently than previous issues. A group of men led by the Gall Dennar encounter a strange (albeit funny) man as they explore a desolate valley in search of food. The group has run out of supplies and must find something to eat, lest they starve to death. Unlike many B.P.R.D. and HELLBOY books, this one is a bit more dialogue heavy -- but it works really well here.
Dennar is clearly the bravest of the group, and he is pushed to search for food in the valley by an elder member of the tribe. It is unclear at first what it is that terrorized the land and left the people to starve, but things clear up rather quickly about a quarter of the way into the issue.
Artist James Harren's very minimalist artistic style sets the stage for the story, and the colors by Dave Stewart are subtle and complimentary in this issue - they are really well done. The story escalates pretty quickly when the group encounters these bizarre zombie creatures who call themselves the "children of the Gods." It is an interesting turn of events. You get the sense that the start of the issue is simply the calm before the inevitable storm. The action scenes are well executed. They are, at times, a bit gory but overall incredibly well done.
Although this was a great issue, it did feel a bit predictable. I found that the story was something I expected. There was no real element of surprise here; it all felt rather ordinary (in terms of the sequence of events). And although that's not necessarily a "bad" thing, I do think it took away from the story quite a bit.
Overall, this is a beautiful issue. We get a great story with solid dialogue, complimented by some truly stunning art. The only real problem here was the fact that the story felt a bit predictable -- there was no real element of surprise. The issue was a bit too "formulaic" and really felt like something I had read before. Still, it's a great story, with very pretty and well done art work.