Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 202 (8/24) -- B.P.R.D.: 1947 by Mignola, Dysart, Ba & Moon

The thirteenth volume of the Hellboy spin-off series collects a miniseries about the earliest days of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development, following up the 1946 miniseries and collection from about a year ago. This time, it's written by Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart, with art by the Brazilian twin brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon (working separately, not together -- though often separately on the same page, in a neat trick I will not spoil, but which Migola talks about in his afterword).

Lil' Hellboy does make an appearance, dragging along with him his freakishly large right hand and his precocious taste for pancakes, as does Prof. Trevor Bruttenholm, the founder and head of the B.P.R.D. But 1947's main plot centers around the bureau's first active-duty team, four variously damaged WWII vets sent to investigate a series of grisly murders of ex-Nazis [1] across Europe. Bruttenholm -- and his creepy and randomly-appearing Russian counterpart, the ancient child Varvara -- are sure a vampire named Konig is behind the killings, and is seeking revenge for the disruptions done to his holdings during the war.

So the four men are sent to Chateau Lac D'Annecy, on the lake of the same name on the French-Swiss border, where Konig threw a party in 1771 that led to a horrifying opera, among other things. It's not the most obvious opening, but it turns out to be the correct one -- there are vampires, Konig among them, infesting the area.

If you read 1947 -- and I recommend it; it's a fine, creepy supernatural story, as well as one of the better routes into the Hellboy universe -- don't get too attached to those four men; it's a dangerous job they signed up for, and it would be too much to expect for all of them to make it out to the other end of it. But they do a good job along the way, which is all you can ask of mortal men faced with undying murderous monsters.

[1] Not so much "ex," as "in detention while they wait for their turn in front of the tribunals," actually, since this is 1947.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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