By Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelӓ, Jason Wordie, Jim Campbell
Abbott #5 is an absolutely satisfying end to a thrilling series. The point where we leave Elena feels natural and worthwhile thanks to the tieing up of a few threads. The subplots of the story are done in such a way that they provide character moments as well as tie into the main narrative. When a solution is presented, it’s not out of fan service, but necessity to the story, and to the character herself. Meanwhile, Kivelӓ and Wordie on art is expectedly awesome. Their knowledge of direction captures the varying tones throughout the book, and, when combined with letters from Campbell, makes for a well paced comic.
Thus far, Abbott has been great because of its horror aspects and character moments. Nothing captures that better than the art team. The ethereal texture of the book’s magical effects are palpable, even on a digital reader, thanks to colors from Wordie. Then, his repeated use of purple makes the presence of evil ubiquitous. We see it as a background color during visions, a pupil color, and as a mist over other characters. Wordie uses the color orange similarly, as we see it carried from Elena’s scarf and dropped into other scenes focused on hope.
Kivelӓ’s use of angles, meanwhile, does a great deal of work to set tone in character scenes. His contrasts dialogue scenes by changing angles regularly. When he does this, it’s typically done to punctuate a statement, and it works. As a conversation moves from small talk to personal moments, Kivelӓ brings the reader in, too. These small efforts from him elevate panels of dialogue to emotional character moments. Campbell’s lettering pulls the reader across the page deliberately as well. In each panel, the words follow the action.
On the narrative side, Ahmed’s pen hyperbolizes the notion of the good old days and villainizes it. As motivations are revealed, incidents from earlier in the series click into place. This character makes for a perfect antagonist, from the design, to the dialogue, and, most importantly, to the intentions. Ahmed makes this a slow burn. As tensions rise, more information is revealed organically, until a certain point when everything makes sense. This satirization of the villain not only shades him, but makes it damn satisfying when Elena wins. Abbott #5 embraces change in a big way, from its themes right down to its conclusion.
This book has been a must read since the beginning. Abbott is one of several stand out indie comics now, and illustrates why they’re just as important as any book the Big Two is putting out. Abbott #5 delivers on exactly what its promised to, and uses the entire team well. Ahmed’s premise and character design is top notch, but is elevated by lines from Kivelӓ, and so on with colors from Wordie, and letters from Campbell. It’s sad to see Elena Abbott go, but only because we want to see even more of what she’s capable of.