The last issue of Abe Sapien was intense. It left a lot of questions to be answered, but in a way closed out the first year of the series. It’s hard to imagine that this series has already been running for a year considering how slow and methodically the story has moved. Within the world itself it’s only been a few weeks and our creative team manages to make that come through within the story as well. The issue begins in familiar territory as Grace and Abe are in a convenience store much like last time. It’s a great parallel to the last issue because instead of it being happy and a haven of food and water for them, it’s destroyed and picked clean. It very much represents the mental state of both of our characters. They head out after taking what they can and find fish spiked out on road reflectors. Just as they have a pleasant conversation a crazed looking wolf dog lunges out at them. A strange old woman pulls the dog back and begins talking to them. She tells them a bit of info about a cult that’s sprung up and other cities that are destroyed. She also tells Abe that she’s familiar with his cult as well, which is a bit of news for them. They finally get away from the crazed woman, but you can tell that both members of our party are shaken by the experience.
Later, Grace asks for some alone time and they both fall into a trance of sorts and in a way work some shit out. It’s an interesting segment of the story because it peals back the layers of both characters and examines their psyches. It’s a very important scene.
Something that I noticed about the last issue and is the same here is the abrupt ending. Unlike most comics Abe Sapien never ends with a cliffhanger. Instead it leaves you in the middle of a conversation that will never be finished or a moment that feels incomplete. It’s actually quite brilliant because as a reader it leaves you feeling incomplete, like the story you just read isn’t resolved and you need just one page more and it never comes. It’s risky because some people could be turned off by it, but for me I find myself excited for more of the story. I’m anxious when I see that a new issue of Abe Sapien is out because I need to get back into the world and grab some resolution wherever I can.
Max Fiumara is one of those artists that you run out of nice things to say when it comes to their art. This issue is of course wonderful looking. Having Grace see her dead daughter instead of her own reflection is sad and yet clever. The trance/dream state that both characters fall into is wonderfully abstract thanks to Fiumara’s artwork. The use of blood was visually grabbing and not grotesque. I don’t think Fiumara has plateaued, but his growth is definitely slower now that he’s hit his stride. From here on out though it’s up to our writers to challenge him as they did here.
I read a ton of Dark Horse titles each month and really each week, but for my money Abe Sapien really is one of the best they publish. It rises above their licensed material which I rate very high (especially compared to other publishers), it rises above their foray into the superhero genre (for the most part) and it sits at the top of the Mignolaverse in my opinion. The last issue may have been labeled as a “starting point”, but trust me… you can start this journey any time and it’s always going to be one worth taking.
Writers: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie Artist: Max Fiumara Colorist: Dave Stewart Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 7/9/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital