By Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, Max Fiumara & Dave Stewart
After the one-shot Abe Sapien story last month (which was excellent, by the way), issue #9 begins the new arc, To the Last Man. While this series has been relatively slow paced, it has certainly been a deep look at the current conditions currently facing the world of the Mignolaverse. In particular, this series has been more about how ordinary people are handling the wider Hell on Earth event in so many different ways.
This factor played a big part in the enjoyment of Abe Sapien #9; the character interactions brought some much needed warmth to the story in brief moments such as the police chief’s reaction to meeting Abe – positive and helpful, the sort of reaction to seeing this ‘fish man’ for the first time that could only occur amidst the chaos of Hell on Earth. There were also some interesting developments to the overall plot, including potential hints at another Plague of Frogs scenario. The slow, deliberate pacing of this issue also seemed to enhance the impending sense of horror that permeates this series. As typical for these books, Mike Mignola and Scott Allie manage to weave plenty of cryptic and ambiguous scenes into this issue. Overall, this was a highly enjoyable installment in the saga of Abe and seems to set up a lot of interesting future developments.
Max Fiumara has become an integral part of this series. While other artists have done a fantastic job, Fiumara’s style really suits this story and the protagonist extremely well. The overall style is somewhat difficult to describe fully, but the visuals are very well-detailed with a sense of realism, while simultaneously very stylized in terms of character features and overall appearance. The illustrations also feel very gritty which perfectly suits the tone of the story, with some particularly gruesome scenes featured this month. As always, Dave Stewart is a master among masters and his colors are flawlessly adapted to match the illustrations and tone of the story.
The visuals in Abe Sapien #9 are among the best in the series so far. Furthermore, the story is getting really interesting with many different factors being set up for future development. For fans of the Mignolaverse, this book is a terrific read on its own or as a companion to the flagship B.P.R.D. title.