By Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, Max Fiumara & Dave Stewart
Wow! That was certainly unexpected…The latest issue of Abe Sapien was quite a departure from the rest of the series in terms of overall presentation. However, this was an absolutely terrific issue that may have also been one of the most powerful yet for this title.
Abe Sapien #12 is a one-shot installment that carries the entire plot through amazing narration; there isn’t a spot of dialogue in the book, but it was compelling and engaging the whole way through. As I have often said of the series before, Abe Sapien takes an approach that is much ‘closer to the ground’, so to speak, than a lot of the other Mignolaverse books. Abe is often more about how regular people have dealt with the events of Hell on Earth, and this is especially the case for issue #12. Instead of digging into the main overall plot, Mike Mignola and Scott Allie turn to an ordinary person who happens to have a brief encounter with Abe himself. This guy is dealing with Hell on Earth in a very standard post-apocalyptic fashion, hiding out in a lone house in the woods with a single female captive. The issue also deals with the female character’s problems since the apocalypse, including the loss of someone very special to her. Despite the major side trek of this book, the writing was incredibly compelling and deep throughout the entire issue. The story wasn’t conveyed in an overly typical fashion which kept things very interesting, and the emotional impact was quite strong, especially for a one-shot tale like this.
Some of the even more interesting aspects of the story were really enhanced by the fantastic artwork by Max Fiumara and Dave Stewart. There are some strong parallels drawn between biblical references and the Hellboy universe, particularly when the unknown male lead of this installment sees Abe as a serpent in the garden. The panel which precedes their aggressive physical contact actually shows Abe as a giant serpent, and these layers helped add a lot to the overall story. Aside from this, Fiumara delivers another excellent addition to the Mignolaverse with wonderfully stylized characters, excellent attention to detail, and a very cinematic overall flow. As always, Dave Stewart’s colors are perfectly suited to the tone of each scene while both adding a lot of life and detail to each panel.
While Abe Sapien #12 was quite a departure from recent developments, this was nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable installment that was superbly crafted in every respect.