Abe Sapien #9

by Tori B. on January 08, 2014

Abe’s still searching for a truth, or is he running from it at this point; either way his journey keeps taking him back to a place where he’s put against humanity as well as aside it, in their fight against hell.
Writer: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Artist: Max Fiumara, Dave Stewart
Cover: Fiumara, Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse
It’s the beginning of a new three-part arc for Abe Sapien in To The Last Man, and this is one of the amazing parts that continue to hold up in the series; each arc is fit into two or three issues and is jam packed with action and story telling. There’s no time for filler or to take a break, much like the inner turmoil that Abe is going through himself. He doesn’t have a chance to stop thinking about what all this means, monsters on earth and his relation to them, whether coincidental, fate, or just an uncanny resemblance with poor timing. As a reader, it’s very much the same. With each part being told so quickly, there’s a lot happening, and there’s no sign of slowing.
Abe currently finds himself in Payson, Arizona where he first stumbles across a sad picture of an accident and eventually runs into the chief of police who gives him a quick tour of monster-related mysteries and then takes him to someone who is verifiably understanding and unafraid of him. There are still mysteries abound, many that may never be resolved seeing as there’s a giant nest of monster eggs laying about, who knows what could happen to little ol’ Payson. But it’s not just the monsters that are showing to be the only problem for Abe. There’s a suspicious group of youngsters loitering around and looking generally suspicious, as they do horrible things to frogs and skulls and what not. Unfortunately for Abe, he doesn’t get a break, not that he was particularly expecting one, but his time in Payson doesn’t seem to be as forgiving as his previous adventures. As the world becomes more hellish, humanity itself seems to fade from the remaining survivors.
With quick story telling comes quick art, and in line with regular Mignolaverse fashion, the art in itself is compelling and carries the story almost on it’s own. Of course, each speech bubble is full of intent and purpose and the story wouldn’t have the same impact without them, but so much is told on its own with just the art. The first page and a half has no text at all but Fiumara does an incredible job at conveying what Abe is going through and what he’s thinking as he walks though the wreckage. Then of course nearing the end of the issue the buildup of action begins and a lot starts to happen. There’s a flurry of action and movements, and there’s a fine balance to try and keep everything coherent, which is pulled off fairly well, which is played in part by Stewart who manages to keep everything within the same colour scheme, but keeps them different enough at the same time to differentiate between different points of view as well. The visual storytelling is impeccable and without a doubt steals the show consistently. The script is almost merely complementary.
For a series about a “fishman”, Abe Sapien is a quiet favourite with how it consistently is so expressive in both art, script, and content, that it pushes readers without them fully realizing at times and are just immersed in a somewhat terrifying world and yet somehow with a protagonist like Abe, there still seems to be a glimmer of hope there.

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