Mike Mignola might just be the busiest comic writer alive. His name is on no less than 4 titles from Dark Horse right now. It is increasingly apparent that he has become the face of Dark Horse and the evolution of B.P.R.D. from its humble Hellboy roots to a must-have in every horror buffs pull.
B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Development) Vampire is a direct follow up to the series B.P.R.D.: 1948. It is post WWII and Professor Trevor Bruttenholm has moved the relatively new agency from a New Mexico air base to its eventual home at a mansion in Fairfield Connecticut. Hellboy is just a scrap of a lad at this point. The mythology and backstory of B.R.P.D is getting a serious fleshing out by Mignola and his mates Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá.
I really enjoy the way Mignola and DH present this property. B.P.R.D. became a monthly book after several mini-series but DH has never abandoned the idea of mini-series by doing spin-offs. I enjoy being able to obliquely re-enter the Mignolaverse occasionally, like visiting an old friend. It also keeps DH in my regular pull, which seems a lot smarter way of competing with the new 52 multi issue arc madness, currently clogging it up.
Along with this mini-series is a second publication, Abe Sapien which I am completely jazzed about picking up on Wednesday. Abe is hands down my favorite B.P.R.D./Hellboy character although Johann Krauss runs a very close second. Hopefully either Gabriel or I can squeeze out a review of it but just in case, you heard it here. We know, it’s AWESOME! (Yes we do!! -gl)
No surprises artistically, Moon and Bá are back and inking their cool style we expect from these books. The story here though, is Dave Stewart. Stewart has become one of the industry’s best colorists. Using a color palette that is more Mark Rothko than comic style, he paints these pages in an almost Mondrian-like way, using gradients to their fullest extent and blocking out complimentary colors for a visually pleasing feel. You can see the impact in the noted lack of dialogue throughout; very smart, very artistic and very pleasing to the eye.
In Vampire, we are getting a better look at minor character, Simon Anders. The writers give us some casual hints about his true nature, well, it is called Vampire and I’m only guessing here but… I am intrigued with the story though, it starts with a wooded scene involving a couple vampires (no duh!). The story is paced a lot slower than I would expect from an issue #1 with very little reveal. I have to say though; I am intrigued to see how it plays out and am anxious for issue #2. Mignola, Moon, Bá and Stewart are building a mood in which to tell their tale. My guess is it’s a vampire hunter’s tale and uh, yeah, give me lots of that please!
B.P.R.D Vampire issue #1 (of 5) is currently available from Dark Horse Comics.