Pick of the Week

November 11, 2009 – B.P.R.D.: 1947 #5

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Avg Rating: 4.6
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 1.4%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

The Pick of the Week will often smack one about the head as he reads his weekly stack. Other weeks, it’s more of a post-game analysis decision. I finish my books and rate them all, look at the ones I rated the highest, and then think about whether I’ve got anything to say about it. I know it’s the correct choice when those things start stacking up, and I know there are wonderful machinations going on in the pages I’ve just read, even if they weren’t overt. This is a wonderful thing in comics that is too often unappreciated. This is the triumph of Joshua Dysart, Fábio Moon, and Gabriel Bá on B.P.R.D.: 1947 #5. In the final account, there were many things it did right, and that’s why I’m talking about it.

I was very much looking forward to the 1947 iteration of this story following the prior 1946 story. The war is over, Hellboy is young, and Professor Broom is just forming the rudiments of what will become the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, or B.P.R.D. Right away, this setup really gets me excited for a period of the Hellboy mythos that’s unexplored, and fraught with possibilities. The previous 4 issues saw Broom order several men to a scary French town on a lake, where they get seriously messed up by demons and vampires. Two men make it back. One, Agent Stegner, is pissed off, and has had enough of the paranormal, and the other, Anders, is in a coma, and possessed.

Enter Ota Benga presumably a fictional take on the actual pygmy who lived in the Bronx Zoo. Benga is a learned priest, and is very near the end of his days, or as he says, “a butterfly’s breath from the grave.” Benga knows a lot, and is very weary of the forces of evil Broom has been facing. He also makes a point about wanting nothing to do with “the boy.” He attempts an exorcism that is sort of successful. More than that, he provides valuable context for the reader and for Broom about what is to come, and the choices they’re making. There is a battle coming, and there are hard choices Broom has in front of him, and he will need to make them. And they won’t be easy. It sets up a very intriguing moral conundrum for Broom, who will have to consider how seriously he’s taking this war, if that’s what it is.

All of this storytelling is told in a very quiet and low key manner. During the exorcism, there is much happening under the surface, but in the room, all is quiet, to the point that Agent Stegner isn’t convinced anything really happened. In fact, Benga admits as much. There was no victory.  But the dialog, and the words spoken in this issue were incredibly effective and elegant, and like all good Hellboy stories, they were mysterious and foreboding as well. It was a wonderful issue, especially in context with the greater Hellboy mythos.

As if all of that weren’t enough, two names getting bigger and bigger in comics are the Brazilian phenom brothers Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. I couldn’t tell you who does what, but the combination of these guys puts out a hell of a comic book page. And while their style doesn’t necessarily change from one project to another, they do seem to have the ability to greatly vary the tone. Take their work on this miniseries as opposed to the work on The Umbrella Academy. This was mostly subdued, but fantastical where it needed to be, and the mood was 180 degrees from the The Umbrella Academy pages. It’s at the point where Bá and Moon show up on a book, and I know it will instantly be that much better. They’re some of the most exciting talents to come to comics in the last few years, and every page is a joy, on top of being really skilled storytellers. Plus, they do as cute a young Hellboy as you could ask for. I mean it. He’s an adorable harbinger of doom.

It’s also important to shed a little light on the support crew, since both the letters and the colors were key to the success of the issue. Clem Robins on letters rode the font sizes, and controlled the excitement level of these pages, which was crucial for what the writer needed in his story. It’s no surprise of course that Dave Stewart held up his end on colors either. The moods created by those fonts were backed up by separate color and lighting schemes which naturally worked perfectly. I was also really impressed by the constant sunset color of the skies around the base, lending the whole thing that eerie quality you want from Hellboy. When you have a team this good, and they’re all delivering on great comics, it’s a thing of wonder.

It is one thing to have a series that sounds good and makes a promise of quality, and it is another to deliver that. With B.P.R.D.: 1947, and the series conclusion with this issue, Mike Mignola, Josh Dysart, and the rest of the team delivered on that promise. On the one hand, it’s probably not the best place to start with the B.P.R.D. world, but when you get there, and you’ve been following along, it hits just the right spot.

Josh Flanagan
“It means you should kill him.”


  1. Nice!

  2. These last two issues have been total clinics. Great parallel action and top notch storytelling all around. 

    Also wondering if my buddy @daccampo found anything eerily familiar in this issue. Haha.  

  3. Where is a good jumping on point in this series? 

  4. Rebirth.

    I mean the BPRD 1946 mini. Then 1947. This and BPRD proper are basically their own independent entities. 

  5. Excellent review Josh, I’ve never read a BPRD but I may ignore your semi-advice and try this anyway.

    It’s great to see a resurgence from veteran letterer Clem Robins this year – where HAS he been the past few years?

  6. Lets go Josh Dysart!  

  7. I think you could read 1946 an then 1947, with only a smattering of Hellboy. This particular issue isn’t a great starting point though.

  8. I would dare say there is no need to read this the team alone is enough to get POW privileges. 

  9. Congratulations, Josh, You got it right.

  10. This was a very fun issue.  The way the exorcism was shown from two viewpoints really drove home the power of the procedure.  Agent Stegner served as a perfect counterpoint.  I hope we see more of him going forward.  This quote "The devil lands on your doorstep, weak, bares his throat — you should cut it." and the way Broom responds to it (by choosing to kill the devil in Hellboy with his love and guidance) is an excellent microcosm of the Hellboy mythology.

  11. @Paul — well, yeah, dammit, you wrote that comment above, and I had to go flip through the issue. Hitting some similar territory (but then Wormwood and the Hellboy universe always have, by design). But yes, I’m knee-deep in exorcism myself right now (fictionally speaking).

    Also: modernize this clothing and Ba and Moon draw young Broom almost EXACTLY they way I would ask an artist to draw Wormwood’s Dr. Xander Crowe. 😉 

    So, yeah, I hadn’t read this until Paul commented, and I went right to it in my stack. VERY nice ending. Around the middle, I was a bit worried about this mini-series, but this is a great wrap-up.

    Still have too many books to read, though.

  12. I’ll be picking up 1946 and this trade as soon as it hits.  I just read Plague of Frogs and very much enjoyed it.  Looking forward to more BPRD stories!

    And great review! 

  13. Great pick.

    I feel bad though because I am way too behind on the BPRD books. Now that there’s two 1940’s mini series I have even more great comics to read. Is there another mini coming around? Like BPRD 1948?

    Pick was Punisher MAX #1 by the by. Great first issue by Jason Aaron, who is perfect for Punisher.

  14. Nice pick I just hope that you don’t get too much of a negative response from not pick Green Launturn Corps as it was really good.

  15. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a BPRD 1948 in the works, but the next BPRD project is a return to the modern team, an arc that closes out the whole Plague of Frogs storyline which has been a major component of the series since the beginning. 

  16. Haven’t read this yet, but I reread issues 1-4 in anticipation. I picked this mini up for the art, but I think I’m jumping on board the BPRD train for good.

  17. Does anyone think Dark Horse will give BPRD the hardcover treatment like they’re doing with Hellboy?

  18. Never got around to reading BPRD or hellboy, I think I might start buying the trades now though.

  19. At some point I spoke to Dysart, and they’re not going to just do every year in order.  They might skip some years here and there.  So the next one might be 1951 or something like that.

  20. BPRD was my pick, too, edging ahead of Hellboy and Batman/Doc Savage for the win.  I buy the Hellboy Universe books every time they offer them–singles, trades and Library Editions.  I can’t help myself!  In a sea of great comics, I love the Mignolaverse the most.  In a previous Hellboy/BPRD lettercol, if I’m remembering correctly, Editor Scott Allie had said they had plans for BPRD, but not in hardcover, which is a shame.

    And if you have the inclination, check out the Fantagraphics Ditko book that came out today.  I buy a lot of collected editions (usually 2 – 4 a week) and I can tell this is gonna be near the top of my ‘best of the year’ list.

  21. I picture the guy rifling through used trades at a con five years from now.

    "Where’s 1948? I’m missing 1948 through…1951!" 

    "They didn’t do a 1948."

    "Well what comes after 1947?"

    "!949. And then they skip 1950. But, as I recall, there was a Spring 1951 and a Late Summer 1951."

    "I’ll take all of them!"

    "I don’t actually work here."

    "Who are you?"

    "Well, according to this letter I found in my mother’s desk…your son possibly." 


  22. If you read the lettercol, Allie says they’ll get to 1948 in about a year.

  23. B.P.R.D 1963. Broome makes a quick trip the Streling and Cooper. I think that would brake my mind

  24. B.P.R.D 1985

    The team fights off demons to make sure "We Are the World" is recorded.

  25. I think I enjoyed 1946 more than this series.  The entire issue was completely overshadowed by how awesome the last page was.  Kid Hellboy always puts a smile on my face.

  26. @TNC – that would be hilarious if they did that

  27. @ShaunR: It would explain why Dan Aykroyd was at that!

    Seriously, the BPRD needs help with a Ghostbuster for that particular mission.

  28. I tend to hate it when the pick goes up early. It’s usually Conor’s week, meaning it’s probably something I pulled, and I’d like to be sure the site’s opinion didn’t sway mine.  Luckily, I don’t read anything Hellboy anymore.

    I wanted to give Batgirl my POTW so bad (to the point where I think I was getting bias) but then I read GLC… Great issue, but I can’t help but to think the ending tricked me into thinking it was even better than it was.

  29. Cool pick!  Somebody recently asked on Twitter, "What comic do you always intend to pick up in trades but never do?" and I couldn’t think of one, but BPRD would be a good answer.  I’ll have to go back to BPRD 1946 some time soon, then get 1947 when it comes out. 

    My pick was ‘SWORD #1’.   A really fun story from Kieron Gillen –I think anybody who’s a fan of Joss Whedon’s ‘Astonishing X-Men’ run should give this a shot; it picks up on Agent Brand’s story, with a good portion of Beast as well.  And Lockheed getting drunk while another space alien urges him, "Kitty wouldn’t *want* you to act this way" was totally my moment of the week.

  30. This review has gotten me interested in the trades.  I really enjoyed Hellboy back in the day (I even had his first appearance in John Byrne’s Next Men), so when I came back to comics I made sure to check out his current works.  The fact that Mignola doesn’t draw them anymore was a real turnoff.  I don’t want artists aping Mignola’s style; I just want Mignola.

  31. I meantto say — Batgirl and Echo were also awesome.

  32. Great book and concept, made all the better by the fact that I loved the characters brought in for this arc.  The team sent to Europe for the investigation were, to my knowledge, completely new for this series and I found them sympathetic and interesting from the get go.  The art needs no fresh compliments, Ba and Moon are always excellent!  Excellent pick, well deserved by all involved.

  33. If you have a question that is totally unrelated to the Pick of the Week, please send it in to contact@ifanboy.com

  34. @conor sorry……

  35. I haven’t read this issue yet thanks to the UK getting books a day later than you chaps in the US, but I felt the last issue really stepped up the storytelling to a really astonishing degree. the simplicity of that image of being stranded on a boat as a metaphor for what’s actually being done to the character was really quite chilling. It’s something Mignola has always been good at doing, letting the story flow naturally and then throwing a single image or panel that completely throws your perception of what’s really happening. It can often be quite jarring, but it never feels out of place.

    Also, and this is probably the fashion victim in me coming through, but I love the attention to detail Gabriel Ba gives to the characters’ appearance. The flowing trench coats, striped jumpers and skinny ties are all really neat touches.

  36. I really appreciate Hellboy and BPRD stories in that you can pick them up and read any arc and they’re interesting without prior knowledge or even if you missed an arc. You can read them by Print date or even read them by "historical date" and they appear to have a flow as if they were intended to by read that way.

    Great series, I’m looking forward to getting it in TPB 

  37. I stopped picking up Hellboy universe in issues.  I really miss having the trades.  I think the last one I bought in trade was The Black Flame.  Then I went to issues – I think you really lose a lot of these stories in issues.  Back to trades for me.

  38. Ughhhhhhh……

  39. Does anyone else think the 1940s series has become much better than regular BPRD?  1946 and 1947 were fantastic but I have completely lost interest in the main title.

  40. Well, it’s the new girl at school. A little more exciting. BPRD proper is headed for a major tipping point, so the tide may turn. 

    Could I have squeezed a few more metaphors in there?  

  41. That would be a great idea of a series. Just do a mini with a new year; so instead of skipping a few years let BPRD continue threw the 40’s and 50’s.

    Maybe Hellboy 1948?

  42. With guest artists?  That is something I would buy regularly – when fascism, democracy, and communism were all still in the international political mix.

  43. Nah. No way. I still dig the regular B.P.R.D. series over this one. I have a far greater investment in the characters of the regulaer series.

  44. They don’t come out concurrently anyway.  Spend a little time here, a little time there… That way they all stay a bit fresh.

  45. So it’s less like the new girl at school and more like going to an all boy’s school and losing your mind whenever you see a girl?

  46. I can’t remember a week where i gave out as many fives as i did today. Locke & Key and Batman & Robin are tied for my POTW.

  47. Great..another Pick of The Week, no ones reading but the ifanboys.  <sigh>  Did Josh EVEN read GL:Corps ?? or does a book automatically lose consideration if too many people are actually reading the thing ??

  48. Why should the POTW be a populist choice?  Its one person picking the book they felt was the best; did you give any consideration to the thought that this may have very well been the best book of the week and you’re wrong for not having picked it up? Not everything you don’t read is crap.

  49. @tazz: The Pick of the Week isn’t a populist choice. Never has been; never will be. We’ve explained this eleventy bajillion times.

  50. Really? We’re doing this again? What are they unfreezing mummies?

    You want a GLC review?  There were a bunch of fights we’ve been seeing exactly like the ones for the last 3 issues as they story hangs in a holding pattern until the main BN story can conclude, and in the end, someone died, but they’ll be back in a year.  See also: DC’s press release.

    But I do keep forgetting to only talk about things everyone already knows about, because god forbid someone tries something new.

    Now, where did i leave my patience?

  51. DC Press Release?

  52. I’m sorry, I’m laughing right now cause I’m imagining josh’s face so red right now. Hopefully we will see a human being blow smoke out of their ears ala a Looney Tunes cartoon.

    Carry on gentlemen.

  53. I’ll never understand why people get so ‘up in arms’ about the ifanboy’s choices in POTW.  It’s one person’s opinion about what they liked the most.  Why is that so difficult to comprehend?  It’s like arguing over someone’s favorite flavor of ice cream.

  54. Yeah!

  55. @MisterJ-Whatever flavour of ice cream is your favorite, it is wrong.

  56. @drake-I know and I lament that fact with every waking moment.  Why, why God, must my opinion be so wrong!!

  57. let’s not get too uppity.

    as always, peolpe are stating that they think one comic is better than another. Not that someone is wrong.

    and what’s so bad about that?

  58.  When you say "You’re just going against popular opinion" it’s heard "your opinion doesn’t matter". It might not have been your intentions but that’s how it comes off. 

    It’s okay to disagree with a choice, but don’t cut a man down when doing it. 🙂

    (Josh, I apricate you sticking to your guns and choosing something you liked and not going with something you’d think would get you less flak. Kudos to you!)

  59. Sometimes, people who like different things aren’t trying to be cool as much as they just like different things.

    Sometimes, they also happen to be really cool. But that can’t be my fault.

  60. I would be so disappointed if the most popular books always won. I read them already, I would have missed Chew, Irredeemable, Mighty and a whole bunch of other great books if the PoTW was something everyone bought all the time. I have a list my arm length with titles like Scalped, The Umbrella Academy, Local and another horde of books that I’m salivating to get my hands on, all picks I believe at one time or another. I read Green Lantern and the Corp, I know how good it is, I don’t need my belief confirmed by others. I need informed opinions on stuff I’m not reading.

    Besides all the books get talked about on the Podcast anyways and Conor tends to love the DC books I love and Josh and him talk about them thoroughly, while Ron nods his head and tries to figure out how to get the conversation back onto X-Men. 😉

  61. @Crucio Hear hear!  At least about the first paragraph 🙂

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