BPRD: Vampire #1 is the second outing for Brazilian brothers Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon into the world of Hellboy and the Burea of Paranormal Research and Defense. This time the award-winning artists also turn their focus to co-writing duties with series creator Mike Mignola. Penning the tale of B.P.R.D. Agent Anders, a man deeply scarred by vampiric horrors.
And “horror” is the name of the game here. The spellbinding opening sequence of over a half dozen young women’s bloodied corpses slowly floating down a winter river chills to the bone, colder than even the icy black water could possibly be. The winding forest path of the stream coaxes our attention into the comic. We’re mercilessly along fro the ride like the helpless cadavers caught in the flow.
With the barebones delivery of plot details told to us, the craft on display from Moon and Bá is the shining star of this comic, and where the story truly engages. A form cut transition between the crimson blood-soaked hand of a vampire-lady trailing the water to the draped sleeping hand of the Agent Anders in bed elegantly juxtaposes the danger and pro-activeness of the vampire threat against the dulled reactiveness of Agent Anders, whose frustration and trauma must finally coax him into action. It also serves to establish the deeper link Anders has with the vampire menace. Their hands meet in the panel transition just as the nightmarish vampires have spiritually and psychologically touched Anders in the past.
Sequences of the vampires strolling in the sprawling, bright woods and casually prophesizing the rise of their wrathful She-God Hecate contrasts with dark, gloomy scene of Anders tensely staring down his own reflection in his claustrophobic and dingy bathroom. The colors of Dave Stewart lend these scenes much of their powerful contrast.
The angular cartooning style lends itself wonderfully to Mignola’s world. So much so that a personal highlight of the issue comes from the brothers’ depiction of a young Hellboy, adorable and cartoonish with his eager smile and megalithic fist.
This issue insidiously wormed it’s way into my psyche and I eagerly await the next in vain hopes of ending the vampiric nightmares now haunting my mind.