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October 24, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: B.P.R.D. 1948 #1

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Written by: Billy
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B.P.R.D. 1948 #1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writers: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
Artist: Max Fiumara (cover by Dave Johnson)
Colors: Dave Stewart

As we march toward the big bang that is coming in the BPRD universe, this tale from 1948 (among other years) shows us a nuclear program that has a secret. Whether it’s a secret that has brought some ungodly monster to Earth that’s killing people, or a suspicious scientist at a facility for this program, is yet to be determined. Maybe both things are related, maybe not, but it stands to reason that Professor Bruttenholm will get to the bottom of it! Back in Connecticut, a young Hellboy has already picked up a smoking habit, much to the chagrin of Simon Anders. Who is the mystery woman that seems like she might be something she’s not? Will the BPRD be able to find and stop the enormous beast killing people in the desert? And ultimately, how will this tie in to the other BPRD titles?!?

OK, well, up to this point, the BPRD books have been very solid. This book had its good points, too, but it seemed to jump around a little too much. 1948 was the starting point, then it jumped to 1983, then back to 1948. And the East coast/Western desert back and forth didn’t help matters, either. The parts with Professor Broom were quite excellent, and anyone that knows that character will certainly enjoy them. The young Hellboy part seemed a bit forced, as if to just say, “Hey, Hellboy’s in this issue.” You know, a meaningless appearance. Maybe because of the lack of Hellboy this past year? Not too sure about that one. Overall the angle of the shady girl scientist and the beast flying around killing people is pretty good. Typical BPRD stuff, and that’s a good thing!

The artwork in this issue wasn’t the usual level readers are used to. Typically Tyler Crook or James Harren have the duties, and do a spectacular job, so when someone else comes along that is good but not great, you definitely notice. A couple of faces seemed slightly off, but nothing catastrophic. The cover was great, but in this case the Mignola variant was way cooler (above)! The colors helped the artwork, and the covers were good, too, so that adds up to a more than average book. When you’ve been spoiled for a couple of years by the creative team behind BPRD, maybe they deserve a little slack. Rating 3.5/5

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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