Here’s the thing about Abe Sapien, reading it is always fun. Always. The hard part is talking about it. At times the series can be a slow burn, you’re aware of the fact that they’re building towards something and your familiarity with the characters and history with the creators gives you the faith needed to hang in there and it delivers. But that can wear you out when you need or want to talk about it. The fact is I haven’t reviewed this series in some months and yet secretly I continued to read it. I didn’t talk about it on the podcast or even post a comment. I just sank into the Mignolaverse without any distractions and enjoyed myself. This issue has some real payoff for the story we’ve been following (or at least it did for me). In some instances this book is just another storyline running throughout B.P.R.D., but outgrew the comic and so it expanded into Abe’s own series. We’ve been receiving updates about “the master” as I believe he’s called. Truth be told I don’t actually care what his name is because he’s evil. Well this issue has the master do something. He arrives in Seattle to find his former master that he’s tried to kill on more than one occasion. The conversation is telling of the situation on earth as we learn that Hellboy’s current residency may have in fact caused some problems back on earth, but something he did definitely caused a problem. One thing is clear though, magic and the dark arts have changed from what’s previously established in the universe.
On Abe’s side of the story we see him gearing up to leave town and continue his journey, but he’ll soon discover that all is not well in the town. Will he be in time to do anything about it?
My biggest take away from this issue is this: the hero doesn’t always win. In fact sometimes they’re not even given the opportunity to win. That’s pretty much how this issue goes and while Abe didn’t get to do anything, it’s the fact that he didn’t that made it an impressive issue.
Mike Mignola only seems to partner with writers that he gels with. That is the case with John Arcudi, Christopher Golden and that’s the case here with Scott Allie. The reader can never tell where one writer begins and the other ends.
The Mignolaverse is big, but the modern era of the universe really boils down to B.P.R.D., Hellboy in Hell and Abe Sapien. When you look at all three of those titles they’re actually quite different. B.P.R.D. is your action heavy title that in several ways is the last hope of humanity, while Hellboy in Hell deals with the prophecy and spirituality side of the universe. Abe Sapien is more of the average person’s view of the world. If you look at every town or place that Abe has stopped at he’s connected with average people that are trying to live and make it in a world swallowed by hell. What does the average person do? They talk. They talk and talk and that’s why not a lot happens in this series, but it’s also why it’s one of the top series that Dark Horse is publishing.
There isn’t much left to say about Max Fiumara’s artwork that hasn’t already been said by myself, Carl or Erik in previous reviews. His style is distinct, it’s detailed and overall it’s the perfect look for this series. Every panel looks as if Fiumara has poured himself into it and stayed there until it was exactly the way he wanted. Dave Stewart is no slouch on the colors of course. He really is the top colorist in the industry and while he sticks with doing mostly Dark Horse titles, it’s his work on series like this that makes a reader glad he does. If Fiumara has poured himself into the panels, it’s Stewart that makes the reader want to crawl inside as well.
I’ll be looking forward to the next month and I’m willing to bet that anyone reading this series is as well. It’s not always a series that you can talk about, but it’s one that people shouldn’t stop trying to talk about. If you’re behind on the title, jump on with the next issue as it will start the next chapter of Abe’s journey.
Writers: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie Artist: Max Fiumara Colorist: Dave Stewart Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 3/12/14