As you’ll see, this comic was so nuts that we needed to bring in the big guns to help us understand it.
Written by Mike Mignola, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá
Illustrated by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon
Plagued with two vampires trapped inside his chest, Simon Anders struggles to keep them under control before they can throw him into a bloodbath with an army of witches.
Brian: The most surprising Mignolaverse book in awhile keeps getting odder, and the power of Hecate keeps surprising those around it. “B.P.R.D. Vampire” #4 continues the excellence the series has brought us so far, but takes it to a much darker place. What did you think of the issue?
David: Vampires 1, Witches 0! In your face witches!
Brian: Sorry to all you degenerate gamblers who put the note on your house on witches, because YOU LOST, YO.
David: Brian, that issue was crazy. I don’t even know what to say about it. The vampire sisters living in Anders turned into a smoke spider on his back and impaled a litany of witches to death who were calling zombies and witch overlords in to kill him or to free him of their evil, Hecate-ian spirits, while a goat provided commentary.
And that wasn’t even the craziest part, because Wilhelm’s wife Eleonora had a flashback in which she traded her soul for Wilhelm’s life to Hecate…and Anders was there in a full military regalia.
WHAT THE WHAT?!
Brian and David: TWEEDALE!
Mark: Hey guys. What’s up?
Brian: You need to help us understand what we just read.
David: Yeah, please read my previous comment in which I talked about the insanity going on in this issue – which was awesome, spooky as hell and a master class in Mignola storytelling by two guys who clearly get it.
Mark: I wish I knew! Honestly, this issue is a storm unleashed. I didn’t expect this story to get so big. That flashback at the beginning of the issue feels key to it though. We’d already heard about Eleonora’s deal with Hecate in issue 3, and with Wilhelm dead it would seem there’s no reason for this scene in issue 4, but then Anders shows up wearing Wilhelm’s clothes and says, “Death is the goal of my weary soul,” the very same words Wilhelm said right before he died last issue. I think the Wilhelm/Eleonora element is still very much in play.
Brian: What struck me about that scene was, as you say, Anders essentially becoming Wilhelm. Do you think this foreshadows Anders as, forgive the crudity of this title, the new Wilhelm? Will he now be a timeless vampiric presence?
Mark: It’s left so vague it’s very open to interpretation. As we’ve often seen in Mignola’s work, wronged characters rarely just die. (The best example was in “Hellboy: The Sleeping and the Dead.” What Mary became after being tortured by vampires was utterly horrific.) In the case of Eleonora, she was so in love with Wilhelm, she sold her soul to save him. And he was so in love with her, that he never turned her into a vampire. He slaughtered innocent women for thirty-seven years to free his wife, and at the end of that he didn’t even get to be with her. He had to leave her so that he couldn’t endanger her again. Eleonora lived alone for several years afterwards in a self-imposed confinement to the castle. Then the Brezina sisters come along and torture her to death.
So, I think Eleonora’s still around in some form, and if there is any hope for Anders’ soul, she’s the key to it.
In that first scene of this issue, my interpretation of it was not so much of Anders becoming the new Wilhelm, but in killing Wilhelm, he had unknowingly taken on Wilhelm’s burden. But like I said, it’s vague. How did you guys see it?
David: That makes sense, although to me, I’m not sure what burden he even had. He being Wilhelm, as Anders certainly has a burden.Continued below
We have one issue to go, and I certainly have no damn clue where this story is going to go (in a good way), but in my heart of hearts, I hope the goodness of Hana can save Anders’ ever-lasting soul. I’m probably right…right guys? Right? Right…?
Brian: Goodness of Hana? Are we reading the same comic?
David: Hana wasn’t and isn’t bad in my opinion. She’s in a tough situation and fed Anders to the witches, but ultimately, she didn’t need to notify Professor Bruttenholm and she clearly was overwhelmed by guilt for her actions. I think she genuinely cares, and who are we to judge a woman who lives in a town previously run by a vampire and currently (until now) run by witches?!
Brian: All I’m saying is this: if you have to argue that feeding someone to witches isn’t a bad thing, well, then you’re probably playing yourself. Sorry, David.
David: I’m not saying it isn’t a bad thing, I’m just saying she didn’t have much of a choice. I mean, it’s not like she broke his neck or something.
Brian: If we’re ever in the shit, and the options are break my neck or feed me to witches, snappy snappy good buddy.
David: At least one has a variable outcome! What happens if you’re basically Edward Grey and you didn’t know it?!
Either way, I <3 Hana and hope Anders finds himself through…her love!
This was just a rocking issue, and what a propulsive one too. There was a lot of story in it, but it was a brisk, dense read with a lot of key points being dropped all over the place. There are so many Mignola-esque moments too. I can’t believe how on point these guys are with this book. They really are writing their thesis here.
Mark: …I suppose you didn’t notice Hana’s bloodied body on the floor, peeking out behind the door on the second last page. That’s kinda what blew my mind in this one. The witches mention that it was Hana that led Simon to them, then he slaughters them all, goes back to town, and by the looks of Simon’s room, violently murders Hana. Bá and Moon took this issue so much further than I thought it could ever go.
David: NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
Mark: Sorry, man. I felt bad having to break the news to you.
Brian: If nothing else, I can honestly say this: if you had asked me after reading issue #1 where this series was going, I would have never said “Anders slaughtering some witches and then Hana.”
Mark: And if you were to ask me now what’s going to happen in issue 5, I’d say, “Uh… Bruttenholm’s in it?”
David: Yeah, that’s a good point. This is at least partially such a phenomenal book because I literally couldn’t tell you what is going to happen issue to issue, but I know it’s going to be remarkable and just what the story needs. These guys, Bá and Moon, are operating on such a remarkable level that I have a trust for their work that very few creators have.
I’m curious what you guys think about this, but I think this is the best variation of Mignola’s storytelling I’ve ever experienced. What they’re doing here is like imprinting Mignola’s style and storytelling within their own, and it creates an absolutely chilling and horrifyingly inviting world.
Mark: Oh, I absolutely agree. This mini is full Mignola’s storytelling idiosyncrasies. The goat commenting on the witch battle in this issue was a perfect example of that.
Brian: Absolutely – these guys aren’t just playing around with the Mignola creations, they are fully inhabiting the Mignola style of storytelling to a degree we haven’t really seen before.
Is there anything else we want to comment on before grading?
David: Hana I love you!!!!!
Okay, I’m good now. Ready for grading. Mark?
Mark: I just wanted to say how cool it was to see Gabriel Bá get to draw an action scene. The story being called “Vampire,” I figured all the fights would be between Anders and a vampire/s, and all that vampire stuff is handled by Fábio Moon. Of course the Brezina sisters were still Moon, but the witch battle was a damn impressive sequence.Continued below
OK, so on to grading. I think this series is firing on all cylinders. Each issue has thrown my expectations up higher and higher, yet still this one seemed to effortlessly surpass them. So, I’m giving it a 9.5.
David: Agreed. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Bá and Moon are crushing this book from an artistic standpoint (how did we barely talk about their art), Dave Stewart is making the book even more beautiful, and their story is a master class in Mignola storytelling. 9.5 feels just right to me.
Brian: 9.0 sounds right to me, if only because I’m a contrarian.
Final Verdict: 9.33 – Buy!