B.P.R.D.: 1948: A great follow-up to 1947

B.P.R.D.: 1948 by Mike Mignola and othersB.P.R.D.: 1948 by Mike Mignola (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Max Fiumara (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer)

This is another early B.P.R.D. story, this one taking place in 1948. The B.P.R.D. headquarters have been moved from New Mexico to New England. The professor is still magically visited in his office by Varvara, the little Russian girl who oversees the supernatural branch of the Russian government. She is always written well by Mignola, who is accompanied by Arcudi on writing duties this time. And I particularly like it when she tells the professor that he is a “strange little moth. . . . You can’t find enough flames to burn your wings on, so you light your own.” This line captures well the uncanny insight of the young girl who is wise beyond her apparent years.

The professor and the B.P.R.D. are called to a science facility in Utah when scientists start getting killed by a giant bird-like creature. Soon, other creatures are spotted in life-threatening situations. And Anders from B.P.R.D. (Vol. 13): 1947 is still struggling with the demons that were locked inside of him behind a supernatural “door.” Because of the connection between these two stories, it’s important to read 1947 before 1948. (1946-1948 have now been collected in a separate, standalone collection.)

The question of the monsters is a difficult one: Are they aliens? Are they mutated animals from earth? Or are they from another earth altogether? Or are they supernatural creatures, and thus fall under the study of the professor? And will the professor’s logic be as solid as it could be given that he is finding himself persuaded by a female scientist he finds attractive? Is her theory of parallel earths a realistic one? Is it even possible? Is Hellboy himself an example of a breach between two realities? The discussions – and fights – between the professor and this female scientist are some of the best written scenes in this book, as science does battle against supernatural theories supported by the professor.

This is another great volume of the early years of the B.P.R.D., and Mignola makes sure we get plenty of scenes with young Hellboy back at the base. Hellboy is now like a young, sensitive teenage with mood swings, and he is getting excited because the president of the United States is coming to meet him. I really like these Hellboy scenes. The art, too, is as good as it is in most of the Hellboy universe comics. Overall, this is another five-star volume from Mignola and company.


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BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Read Brad's series on HOW TO READ COMICS.

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