Plot: An old friend of Professor Bruttenholm's uncle, Ota Benga, comes by to help deal with the demon-ridden Simon Anders.
Comments: This miniseries keeps surprising me by continually making me care about characters I wrote off in previous issues. This time it's Professor Bruttenholm, who spent most of the story behind a desk, dealing with the burden of sending men to die. By bringing the problem to the Professor’s door and introducing Ota Benga, the character finally gets something to do and someone for us to contrast him with.
Ultimately, the conflict of the final issue surrounds the Professor: does Bruttenholm follow the advice of his elder who dogmatically believes in the destruction of the supernatural or does he pave his own way by living with the demons that surround him? With Benga's beliefs at odds with Bruttenholm's the book manages to make the ubiquitous presence of Li'l Hellboy feel threatening, recasting Gabriel Bá's adorable rendition as a child demon with the potential to turn evil--a surprising maneuver, considering we already know what Hellboy will become.
Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon continue to deliver great art. As the entire issue takes place on the base, it could have been very Bá-centric, but Moon renders the exorcism scenes in the supernatural realm, and the effect is powerful. Often the two styles show up on the same page, which foregrounds the fact that two artists are drawing this book, and they have very distinct styles. One gets a sense of interaction and collaboration by having both contribute to a page. That Bá depicts Benga as incredibly old in the real world while Moon draws him a much younger man is also a clever way to show his abilities as an exorcist.
While BPRD 1947 #5 isn't the slam-bang "killer conclusion" I hoped for after reading #4, it doesn't really need to be. I'd have liked to have seen what happens to loose threads like Anders, but maybe the open-ended denouement means that we can anticipate a BPRD 1948.
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