Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. #5

This is why people read comics! Highest possible recommendation.

The cover: Nazi scientist and surgeon Herman von Klempt’s head is attached to one of the monstrous bodies he’s been experimenting on. His fists crackle with blue energy, which were enough to knock a young Hellboy to the ground. Flame before and behind both characters, hinting that the setting for their battle is shortly going to be consumed by the fire. Heck, Hellboy’s even bleeding! Excellent cover by interior artist Alex Maleev that tells readers everything they need to know before opening this book. Overall grade: A+

The story: Last issue Hellboy stumbled upon what’s been happening in Brazil: von Klempt has been experimenting on reanimating bodies to win the favor, and leadership, of the surviving members of Hitler’s Third Reich. They want nothing to do with the madman and terminate the television signal he’s using. Upon learning he’s been shut down, he proclaims, “Shut down? The fools! Don’t they know what I have to offer?” This causes unconscious Hellboy to wake up laughing. “You’re too crazy for some crackpot Nazi holdouts! How’s that feel?” The Nazi shoots a bolt of energy into the hero to shut him up. As he stands over the still body for the killing blow, Hellboy grabs his wrist and both feel the pulse of electricity. The two begin to exchange punches until something unexpected arrives. This concluding chapter by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi has action, monsters, Nazis, cigarette smoking apes, and a horrific ending for one character in Buenos Aires, featuring a cameo from a character whose appearances are always harbingers of doom. Outstanding. Overall grade: A+

The art: Amazing work by Alex Maleev. The book opens with a text-free first page that slowly snakes around the “evil” castle, showing readers the exterior, the interior with one character’s death, two bizarre chimps, and what they see. This transitions to a sensational shot of von Klempt surrounded by two of his experiments with Nazi banners behind them. It’s an absolutely insane combination of images that make the madness of Hellboy’s adventures exciting. When the two leads battle it’s impossible not to cheer for Hellboy when he gets a punch in and is then restrained by the pair of minions. Page 6 is a fantastic game changer, brought about because of what occurred last issue, and what it does to each character is fantastic. I love the look of both characters, but I’m completely won over by the perverse chimps and their tobacco habits. The top panel on Page 14 is going to be an iconic image that other artists will imitate while others try to best it, and that ain’t going to be easy! I didn’t think much would happen in the Argentina scenes, but Pages 20 and 21 were a slap to my complacency and reminded me that horrors are not to be underestimated in any Hellboy book. Maleev has to return to this group of characters soon! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Beautifully sick work by Dave Stewart on this issue. He opens with a sky that is suffering in yellow and then transitions into an otherworldly, luminous green, that is then overpowered by the blood red of Nazi banners. It’s a great use of color to move readers quickly through the many moods this book creates. The energy from von Klempt is a pale blue that harkens to electricity, and by outlining the sound it creates in a darker blue, Stewart makes these panels sting with energy. Green comes back strongly on Page 6, creating a sense of utter wrongness with this shade. I really like that 18 and 19 had plain, muted colors, which only made the colors on 20 and 21 more powerful. Stewart knocks it out of the park again. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, laughter, sounds, yells, ape speak, a newspaper headline, a song, and a scene setting are all summoned out of Clem Robins. I’m glad that he was allowed to put some of the characters’ words into italics, as Hellboy’s taunts to von Klempt sound so much better when I can see where he’s putting his emphasis. Overall grade: A+

The final line: 1952: the first mechanical heart is used, Wernher von Braun publishes Man Will Conquer Space Soon!, the B-52 Stratofortress flies for the first time, and UFOs appear over Washington, D.C. Forget about those! Nazis in Brazil are working with materials that could spend the end of the human race, and only Hellboy, on his first adventure, can stop them. This is why people read comics! Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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