B.P.R.D.: 1947 5 (November 2009)

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Ok, so the whole thing was all about the Professor paying more attention to Hellboy? I mean, obviously, it can’t have been, what with little Hellboy only appearing in four of the five issues… oh, wait.

The final issue features an utterly useless battle between a priest and the two vampires who messed up the Professor’s agent. Except the vampires were, near as I could tell from them being staked to the wall, dead as of last issue. But now they’re not vampires, they’re demons.

Why are they demons? So the priest can imply the Professor should kill little Hellboy and the Professor can instead show him love (instead of ignoring him).

It’s a disastrous series.

Didn’t anyone sit down and read the scripts and, after being done reading in three minutes, think they should do something else? Work on them some more perhaps?

There’s nothing here but wasted time.

CREDITS

Writers, Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart; artists, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sierra Hahn, Rachel Edidin, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

B.P.R.D.: 1947 4 (October 2009)

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It’s almost over. I’m going to make it! (I never thought I’d be making that comment about something Dysart wrote).

This issue has less to recommend it than the previous one and it moves even faster. The pacing is accelerating. There’s even a lot of little Hellboy in this one and, while he’s cute and all, it’s not the comic book I bought.

Not having the Professor be the protagonist–not really having a protagonist–is doing this series in. I can’t remember the story of the sort of protagonist now, just because the guy who’s been kidnapped by vampires has such a better backstory.

Speaking of vampires, in the B.P.R.D. universe, do they or do they not appear human? I mean, when they aren’t making people hallucinate. It’s complicated and seems to go back and forth.

One issue left. Almost want to skip it, imagine it redeems the series.

CREDITS

Writers, Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart; artists, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sierra Hahn, Rachel Edidin, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

B.P.R.D.: 1947 3 (September 2009)

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I wish I’d timed how long it took to read that issue. I’m sure I’d be disappointed.

Here, at the end of issue three, I’m to where the first issue should have been ending. Now the actual story can kick off. Maybe. This issue kind of ends the story’s dramatic vehicle, so I guess maybe not.

The issue ends on a reference to the first series, which is why it should be where the first issue, not third, closed. It’s such a slight story, however, it’s hard to imagine the final two issues provoking any interest. I was excited for 1947 and now I’m dreading 1948. Whatever came together on 1946 is absent here.

The plotting seems to be the culprit. The mission isn’t bad, but the first step in the investigation is boring (visit a tranquil French village to do research). They don’t even do the research.

Uh oh.

CREDITS

Writers, Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart; artists, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sierra Hahn, Rachel Edidin, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

B.P.R.D.: 1947 2 (August 2009)

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There’s no setting. It’s messing up the pacing. As much as I dislike comparing one thing to another for the purpose of a “review,” it’s pretty clear this series is breezing by because there’s no setting. It’s some guys in France. There’s nothing to the town–nothing about the French recovering from the war, for example; in fact, this issue, I don’t think a native gets any dialogue.

There’s interesting plotting–the hero in peril speaks his mind, without thinking, and it promises to be interesting–well, next issue it’ll be interesting, this issue it’s just a cliffhanger. Except it’s not at the end of the issue, as there’s still more busywork to do.

The “real” cliffhanger should have been in the first issue, since it’s just explaining something not in need of explanation.

I’m trying to remain upbeat, but it feels like a setup for B.P.R.D.: 1948, nothing else.

CREDITS

Writers, Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart; artists, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sierra Hahn, Rachel Edidin, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

B.P.R.D.: 1947 1 (July 2009)

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I don’t have an opinion yet. Of the story, I mean. The art is wonderful, obviously, it’s Bá and Moon.

But the story… is a pickle. It’s not the Professor’s story, it’s the story of his agents, his agents who are very likely expendable. So we open this new story knowing the four men we meet may all die by the end. A sole survivor situation seems likely as well but five issues isn’t enough to bother trying to guess.

So what do the writers leave us with? There’s a cliffhanger, a couple really, one quiet, one loud, both adding up to the same thing. Once again, there’s a deliberate carefulness to how the period is presented. It’s accurate and informative, without any exposition. It’s masterful storytelling to be sure, it just doesn’t compare well with the first series (yet).

I wish I could be more upbeat; it feels perfunctory.

CREDITS

Writers, Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart; artists, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sierra Hahn, Rachel Edidin, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Secret Wars II 5 (November 1985)

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I kind of remember this issue. It ends with the Marvel heroes beating up on a melancholy, downbeat Beyonder. He shuffles off while they bicker over what to do.

One of the benefits to running a company and writing its big crossover is no one’s going to tell you you’re an idiot. Shooter’s got a checklist of all the things he wants the Beyonder to show the reader–it’s like a tour of the Marvel universe–this issue it’s the Celestials. The Beyonder goes and beats them up because he’s having self esteem issues.

Why is the Beyonder having self esteem issues? Because Shooter can’t think of anything else to write about.

This issue pairs the Beyonder with a thirteen year-old sidekick (she looks eighteen at least); if Shooter was going for her age being any kind of emotional factor, Milgrom failed to convey it.

Terrible beginning to end.

CREDITS

Despair!; writer, Jim Shooter; penciller, Al Milgrom; inkers, Steve Leialoha and Joe Rubinstein; colorist, M. Hands; letterer, Joe Rosen and Rick Parker; editor, Bob Budiansky; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop: Killing Machine 1 (August 2004)

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Avatar was charging three bucks for twelve pages of story? When’s Marvel going to get on that bandwagon?

Amusingly enough, Killing Machine‘s about the best Robocop story I’ve read from them. It’s just a simple adventure of Robocop. It establishes its ground situation, it aggravates the situation, it just works. More, there’s even some actual character stuff with Robocop and Lewis.

The artist, Ricardo, he draws a lousy Robocop, way too cartoonish, nowhere near enough detail (or height, Ricardo draws a short Robocop). But other than Robocop–and the evil robot, which I’m pretty sure is actually a Spider Slayer (Marvel must’ve missed it)–Ricardo does a good job. He gives Lewis a fair amount of personality and his composition is solid.

Instead of releasing stuff like this one-shot to placate fans waiting for the Frank Miller series, Avatar should have put out (fairly priced) comics like this one.

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Anderson Ricardo; colorist, Greg Waller; publisher, Avatar Press.

Robocop 1 (March 1990)

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Alan Grant wrote Judge Dredd, which probably explains some of his Robocop. His Robocop is talkative and makes occasional jokes; neither facet particularly works.

But Grant’s Robocop isn’t terrible. It’s a sequel to the movie and, while some of the other film characters do appear, Grant’s taking things in his own direction. He’s got evil Robocops (maybe he saw the preview for Robocop 2), “extreme” fighters and gangs on flying motorcycles.

Still, he reins it in. His “Media Break” segments are spot-on; Grant’s future is flashy, but not so flashy it’s unbelievable Robocop might still be tromping through it.

Grant’s doing his own thing here–the episodic adventures of Robocop–and he’s doing a police procedural, just with Robocop occasionally shooting up an alley of bad guys. These bad guys, however, aren’t scared of Robocop. It’s like they’ve barely heard of him at times, which is a big problem.

CREDITS

Kombat Zone; writer, Alan Grant; penciller, Lee Sullivan; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Steve White; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Gregory Wright; publisher, Marvel Comics.

B.P.R.D.: 1946 5 (May 2008)

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Mignola, Dysart and Azaceta pull it off.

They don’t exactly pull it off the way I expected (I’d forgotten the conclusion) but they still come through.

Instead of doing something collected, they go all out with a Nazi space rocket and vampires fighting robot gorillas. Let’s not forget the cybernetic Nazi monkey, he was kind of my favorite. I can’t believe a monkey being a Nazi though. They must have brainwashed him.

In other words, they go crazy. It’s a big lunacy absurdist piece. The craziest thing in the comic might just be the decapitated Nazi mad scientist flashing back to loading up all the vampires with his gorilla and monkey sidekicks. It’s just crazy.

But it’s still serious. The scene where the sergeant saves the Professor, it’s amazing. The scene where the little demon Russian girl plays with her doll because she’s upset, amazing.

The whole thing’s just amazing.

CREDITS

Writers, Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart; penciller, Paul Azaceta; inker, Peter Krause; colorist, Nick Filardi; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Rachel Edidin and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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