Following Hollow Earth it was unclear what direction the B.P.R.D. comics would take. Four one-shot stories were published every other month from May to November 2003; The Soul of Venice, Dark Waters, Night Train and There's Something Under My Bed. At the same time during the 'off' months Dark Horse published the out of continuity anthology Hellboy: Weird Tales.
The Soul of Venice was published in May 2003. The story was later collected in B.P.R.D.: The Soul of Venice & Other Stories in August 2004.
Elizabeth Sherman, Abe Sapien, Roger and Johann Kraus travel to Venice. The see something is wrong with the canals, but are unsure of the cause. Roger sees a statue of a woman and is told she is Cloacina, a Roman goddess who is said to maintain the canals.
Johann senses a house at the center of the evil and the team investigates. The house once belonged to Romulus Diovanni, a man who once tortured a vampire and drank its blood in hopes of gaining immortality. In the house the team finds Diovanni's body in a coffin and impales the figure. The vampire removes the stake and overpowers the team.
Roger wakes up and sees the vampire offer the bound spirit Cloacina to the demon Shax in return for being made more powerful. Shax wants nothing to do with the lowly vampire. Roger shatters the jar holding Cloacina, without that power the vampire is defeated and the demon, no longer bound, leaves. Cloacina smiles at Roger and disappears.
With Cloacina free, Venice returns to normal. The issue ends with Roger sitting under the statue of Cloacina from the beginning of the story.
In Diovanni's manor Liz looks at a portrait of a child with a striking resemblance to the Demon Varvara, a prominent character in the B.P.R.D. universe. The subject in the portrait subsequently comes to life and attacks agents, only to be destroyed by a punch from Roger. Johann Kraus calls it "merely a damned soul, bound to the evil in this house."
|B.P.R.D. Publication Order|
|The Soul of Venice
|B.P.R.D. Trade Paperback Order|
|B.P.R.D. – Volume 2: The Soul of Venice & Other Stories|
|The Soul of Venice