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B.P.R.D. 1946 #5

Posted: Saturday, May 17, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

Mike Mignola & Joshua Dysart
Paul Azaceta, Nick Filardi (c)
Dark Horse Comics
“It is I who have resurrected the rocket program! I who had the true vision! Saw a future use in it!” These are bellows and declarations of a man beneath glass, whose world is refracted and whose image is distorted back at him. He is a Nazi, still fighting when all other have given up or died. “I who imagined… Delivering Vampir Sturm to the heart of the real adversary… America!”

All evil plans to destroy the world must come to an end, and the nasty Nazi project Vampir Sturm is no exception. BPRD: 1946 # 5 isn’t the darkest issue of the series, but is certainly the most melancholy. Yes, the heroes win, the Nazis lose, and the United States Congress approves the creation of a Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. But at what cost? And really did happen to that head in a jar?

Previously, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm uncovered the secret Nazi plan called Vampir Sturm, which genetically bred vampires from the mentally ill and cryogenically froze them underneath an asylum in Berlin. But when the Professor finally got there, hundreds of the subjects had been stolen. With the help of a joint military envoy of Americans and Soviets, Professor Bruttenholm and the mysterious little girl Varvara come face to face with the nefarious thief and his gruesome gorilla cyborgs.

I felt this issue was really sad in tone. Lot of side characters die, some in rather black humor. A Russian solider runs to save Varvara from oncoming rocket flames, only to be incinerated while she joyfully exclaims, “Fantastic!” A similar moment is the introduction of Dieter, a cyborg chimp, who has nodes and plugs sticking out of head, and speaks German amidst monkey cries, “Ein neuer tag beginnt! Uhauha uha!” These disturbing, though humorous, elements accentuate the melancholy of the conclusion, where our hero doesn’t fight valiantly, and the villain seemingly gets away.

Azaceta’s art has been superb throughout this series. While at the NY Comiccon, I met Paul Azaceta and saw his art without the lettering, word balloons, and colors. In those inked originals, I saw and came to appreciate his ability to tell a story panel by panel. Notably, his sense of humor is very good, where in this particular issue Varvara asks Burttenholm if he killed the evil Von Klempt, to which he replies “Yes…well, he was in the rocket when it…when it exploded.” The next panel Varvara silently relays her dissatisfaction and coldness with a raised eyebrow and scrutinizing stare. The moment is well paced and very funny.
This is my first complete arc of a BPRD series and I’m ready to delve into more. BPRD: 1946 may have had a sad ending, but it’s the beginning of beautiful infatuation.



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