Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Review - B.P.R.D. Vol.13: 1947 TPB

Not all of the BPRD books are written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi and illustrated by Guy Davis. BPRD Vol.9: 1946 was written by Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart and illustrated by Paul Azaceta, and it told the story of the post-WWII formation of the BPRD by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm. I got into this series mainly because I like the Mignola / Arcudi / Davis volumes and only bought ‘1946’ because I am a bit of a completist – a mentality I am trying to overcome – but I remember thinking it was really good, even if I can’t remember much about it now.

‘1947’ follows on from ‘1946’ (of course) and is again written by Mike Mignola and Joshu Dysart but this time illustrated by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. In this volume, Professor Bruttenholm puts together his first bunch of BPRD agents – comprised of some WWII veterans who, unlike most modern BPRD members, are not supernatural beings of some kind – and sends them off to France in search of vampires. Only two of them make it back and one of them needs an exorcism.

The art here is very nice and in keeping with the style of the various Hellboy books but I struggled to get into the story this time. As I said, I can’t remember much about ‘1946’ now and this is a problem I seem to have with most of the Hellboy / BPRD books – I often enjoy reading them but rarely find them that memorable. I got the impression that, in order to fully appreciate this book, I was supposed to remember a lot of stuff not just from ‘1946’ but also from various Hellboy books, some of which I probably haven’t read yet because I have so far only read the Hellboy stuff collected in the first three Hellboy Library books. A young Hellboy actually makes an appearance here, as does Varvara, a creepy little Russian girl I do remember from ‘1946’ – she is head of the Russian equivalent of the BPRD – but she isn’t in this volume nearly enough.

I’m a bit fed up with reading comics that are bogged down in continuity. I’m getting on a bit now and my memory isn’t what it used to be, plus I only have a certain amount of life left in me and I don’t want to waste too much of it reading books I have already read just so I can understand the latest book in a series. BPRD Vol.14 sees the end of the long-running ‘War on Frogs’ storyline and, once I get a copy, I may re-read all of my Hellboy and BPRD books in order to fully appreciate them. However, unless Vol.14 is really awesome, I may also decide that the end of the war on frogs is a good jumping off point for me with this particular title. I will probably continue to pick up the Hellboy Library books as they are published, but keeping up with the wider Hellboy universe these days requires a bit too much commitment for my liking.

Cost: This has a recommended retail price of £13.50 / $17.99. I got my copy for Christmas, so it didn’t cost me anything, but the person who bought it for me got it from Amazon, where it is currently £10.49. Not a bad price, I suppose, but also not an amazing price for a book that only collects five comics, plus one other short strip, and turned out to be quite a quick read.

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