B.P.R.D., Vol. 12: War on Frogs by Mike Mignola
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm a short story reader and writer, and I love the graphic novel format. So I was likely predisposed to like this volume of BPRD. Or maybe its just the fact that it was so well-drawn and well-written. Mmm?
Of course, like any other work in the BPRD series, there are plenty of juicy shoot-em-up scenes of frogs being blown into quivering technicolor bits. And there is much of the usual grim, determined, hard-nosed characterizations that one would expect from a bunch of super-freaks who have been (condemned, or blessed?) to play out their days hunting down and killing a host of pseudo-cthulhoid monsters.
But what shines in these little vignettes is the humanity of the BPRD team and, more importantly, the humanity of those who they hunt - the frogs themselves. Can you feel sympathy, even empathy, for a thorn-tongued, fanged amphibian demon-thing even as you cut it down with a assault rifle? Well, when you realize (view spoiler)[that your victim was once human, with loves and desires and a family (hide spoiler)], the answer is an emphatic "yes!". And it's precisely this realization that affects several of the BPRD team members in a, yes, I'll say it, touching way, that pushes this volume beyond a mere telling of macabre war stories and into the realm of the profound. Not all of the stories are of the same poignancy, but none are duds, either. And in war, you can't afford to shoot duds.
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