By Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, Max Fiumara & Dave Stewart
Abe Sapien, like most other Mignolaverse titles, somehow manages to keep getting better each month. This definitely remains the case with the latest installment, as issue #14 provided a ton of excitement and mystery.
Abe and his new traveling companion, Grace, are still moving toward the title character’s goal of uncovering more about his past. This is a central aspect to Abe’s story and one which fans have been dying to see fully revealed. The beginning of this issue starts off fairly somber and quiet, but the whole sequence somehow manages to stay interesting and does a great job of conveying a real post-apocalyptic and horror sensibility. There are some relatively ambiguous moments throughout this portion of the book, but they are still emotionally charged and more intriguing than confusing. However, once Abe gets into hallucination/vision mode following a blow to the head, things really start picking up. Elements from earlier portions of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth start popping up, and we even get a number of panels featuring Big Red himself. Obviously, the most exciting parts of this lengthy sequence were those showing aspects of Abe’s past and the bizarre nature of his origins. Mike Mignola and Scott Allie have been taking this part of the overall plot very slowly and providing only brief glimpses of the greater mystery, but issue #14 includes what was probably the most we’ve seen from this aspect in a single issue.
Max Fiumara and Dave Stewart again do a tremendous job with the visuals in this book. Fiumara’s illustrations maintain an appropriately grim and gritty feeling, while still being full of great details and wonderful designs. The horror tone of this installment was also exemplified quite well by the visuals. In particular, Abe’s hallucinatory sequence was fantastic in every respect. Caul himself looks especially creepy during these scenes, and the trail of blood coming from Abe’s previous gunshot wound following him wherever he goes was a great detail. This scene is interspersed with similarly strange and mysterious panels featuring Grace. These are highlighted in much brighter tones of oranges and yellows, while the intervening scenes with the protagonist’s visions are draped in murky greens and blacks.
Overall, this was just another terrific installment by an astonishingly consistent and always-evolving creative team. Fans of the Mignolaverse in general should be really excited for the current state of Abe Sapien given the greater glimpses of this character’s past we have recently been treated to. If you follow B.P.R.D. and other related series, but for some reason just haven’t gotten around to checking this one out yet, now is a perfect time to get involved.