ABE SAPIEN: DARK AND TERRIBLE #1

By: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie (Writers), Sebastian Fiumara (Artist), Dave Stewart (Colorist)

The Story: The B.P.R.D is searching for Abe Sapien, as some folks discuss how it feels to see the end of times and other such curiosities on a train.

The Review: It’s funny, in a way, to see how successful Mike Mignola has been with his first creator-owned character, Hellboy. First appearing in his own mini-series, the adventure of the beast of the apocalypse has seen the start of a much bigger thing: its own universe, with a sister title expanding it in ways that were really well done. B.P.R.D, in its own way, saw as much success as the main title, which now lead to a cycle of such with the birth of this title, Abe Sapien, dedicated to the supporting character first seen in Hellboy that has been developed to much greater heights in the narrative frame of B.P.R.D to become one of the most endearing character from what is now dubbed the Mignolaverse. However, does this character actually merits a title of his own, an ongoing nonetheless?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer this with just this issue alone, as we don’t see much but setup here. Granted, much of the exposition here is actually fairly interesting; with the B.P.R.D having to take care of another Ogdru Hem (think a big roaring monster that crushes cities) that has appeared in Kansas and desiring to find Abe Sapien back to them. The much more interesting exposition, however, is given to us by three people on a train, talking about their various experiences with the supernatural, with each of them giving a bit of their view on how and why the whole world is turning like this. While this scene may seem a bit superfluous, it is nonetheless very well written, giving us the everyman point-of-view on how the end of the world is perceived, something that is not necessarily shown in the other books of the Mignolaverse. Of course, this leads to us seeing the titular character in action, yet it feels a little bit hollow.

Why it feels so is very simple: even though we get a lot of information, some of it conceptually cool, and some scenes with the titular character on the run, we don’t get much of anything else. No direction, no clarifications on just what motivates Abe right now and just nothing much else apart from some help in setting up the reader. However well written it all is, I just don’t see anyone jumping right there without any knowledge of B.P.R.D enjoying such an issue. Sure, those who have read that series or close to anything by Mignola knows that he has a plan and that on the long run, this will all pay off, but this is kind of weak as first issues go.

What is definitely strong here and that may win over a lot of people would be Fiumara art. His people in general all look very distinctive, with his style making each of their facial expressions very believable. As much as the people here looks very nice, I have to say he has drawn one of my very favourite version of Abe Sapien, managing to make him look strong, monstrous, yet utterly human at the same time. He’s also no slouch for the more mythical creatures and backgrounds, yet I do believe it is the way he draw people that makes him such a great artist here. Of course, the book would not look near as nice if it wasn’t for Dave Stewart who brings his amazing color work to this book. His expertise from his work on books like Hellboy in Hell is brought here, with a focus on the more somber colors, creating shadows effects and the illusion of night in a way that makes it gorgeous to look at. On the art side, this book is a true winner.

The Conclusion: Superb art and some well-brought exposition saves this issue from being a complete bore, as there is not much happening here. Fans of the Mignolaverse shall find much to like here, but new readers may not necessarily be as enthusiastic.

Grade: B- (If you have B.P.R.D knowledge) C+ (If you do not)

Hugo Robberts Larivière

Grade

Conclusion