The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense faces its worst tragedy ever as the war against the plague of frogs reaches a devastating new level. Heralded by a bizarre villain from the B.P.R.D.'s past, an ancient monster-god marches across the American heartland portending an end to the reign of men, and leaving a permanent mark on the Bureau. Hellboy-creator Mike Mignola continues his collaboration with artist Guy Davis and co-writer John Arcudi to unravel a tale that will leave the earth shaken and the B.P.R.D. shattered. This collection includes a sketchbook section chronicling Guy Davis's creation of the abominations unleashed in The Black Flame.
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The long story, begun in Plague of Frogs (2005) and continued in The Dead (2005), of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense's battle with an ongoing eruption of frog monsters now goes ballistic. The catalyst for the scale to which the onslaught eventually balloons is a Nazi-philic CEO who believes he'll control not just the froggies but their leader, a humongous critter called Katha-Hem, after he dons an armored suit that terminates in a skull that bursts into black flame. He's rolling over everything the ace B.P.R.D. team throws at him for quite some time, even succeeding in offing, it seems, new team point-man Roger, the golemlike homunculus. Then Katha-Hem shows up. In the end, team member Liz, who can start fires psychically, holds what's needed to fight off Katha-Hem, but does she know how to use it? The saga attains to a climax, if not necessarily a conclusion, before the last page of Mignola and cowriter John Arcudi's Hollywoodish, Lovecraftian script and of Guy Davis' jaggedy art is turned. Ray Olson
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