By Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelӓ, Jason Wordie, and Jim Campbell
Abbott #2 is firing on all cylinders: the layouts are fun and functional, the writing is insightful, and the art is as gorgeous as it is ominous. Everything in this issue works together. This time, Elena Abbott, fueled by the mystery of her supernatural assailant, allows herself to travel further down the rabbit hole, despite the best wishes of almost every other character. These admonitions provide some of the best nuance in the issue.
As Abbott recovers and gives minor details about her attack, the men she involves take a protective stance. Some pledge to take care of her problem for her, while others simply warn her to stay away. Ahmed captures the social politics of the era in these moments, but the most memorable is when Abbott meets one of her old girlfriends, who does quite the opposite by empowering rather than feeling the need to protect. It feels natural. The two women, coming from a place of mutual understanding of how they’re treated, find a respect for one another. Ahmed’s dialogue proves this in just a short exchange. In the first two issues alone, he’s shown his ability to create chemistry between characters.
The panel layout gives each page more life. Their positioning is able to convey more depth in conversation or interaction, or even simply the passing of time. When Abbott is engaged in a quick back and forth, rather than simply drawing one panel with several word balloons, more panels are added as well. This allows detail in facial expression and body language. Conversations in Abbott are about more than just the words on the page. Campbell’s lettering compliments the layouts perfectly. The two flow together so well that it almost goes unnoticed. They’re more of a dance, in the sense that the words are given an extra layer of detail based on the way the scene is being portrayed.
Wordie’s palette, similarly lends itself to setting a scene. The purples, reds, and blacks that connote the issue’s supernatural scenes are simultaneously indicative of tone and mystery. They seem to appear and disappear as quickly as the creatures they’re associated with, but are woven into other scenes as well. Thanks to this, Wordie is able to create a constant, subconscious feeling of dread, simply by coloring an umbrella, a jacket, or even lighting.
Abbott #2 is enticing. Abbott herself is constantly given more depth of character and is compelling to follow. She brings a refreshing take to the journalist type, partially thanks to the setting of the story. The comic’s art team establishes all this efficiently. Kivelӓ, the illustrator of the series, has a distinct, timely style. His lines are magnetic and gritty, just like Abbott herself. This issue combines great mystery and artistry with a compelling lead. It’s a totally unique comic disguised as the classic supernatural detective story.