Abe Sapien #1
- Words: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
- Art: Sebastián Fiumara
- Colors: Dave Stewart
- Story Title: Dark and Terrible, Part One
- Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
- Price: $3.50
- Release Date: Apr 3, 2013
Posted by Jason Wilkins on Apr 1, 2013
The perennial fan-favorite BPRD agent finally leapfrogs into his own ongoing series exploring his mysterious past and dark future.
It’s a tried and true formula that’s garnered creator Mike Mignola massive critical and popular acclaim: the monster with a heart of gold struggling to free himself from his own secret history, with the fate of the world hinging on his success or failure.
For the past several years, Mignola and his handpicked crew of top-notch talent have engaged in a decisive push to expand the world of his most popular creation, Hellboy. Most evident in the plotlines of the ongoing BPRD cycle of stories, Mignola has gradually unveiled a far-reaching, twisting saga revolving around the mysterious past of the agency’s star paranormal operative, Abe Sapien. Much like his former partner Hellboy, Sapien’s past is shrouded in mystery and strewn with disturbing hints that his destiny may be just as dark and tragic as his demonic counterpart.
Issue #1 of Abe’s new ongoing from Dark Horse spends much of the page count introducing new readers to the current state of affairs of the BPRD and their ongoing war of attrition to keep America safe from a series of cataclysmic paranormal insurgences. A cutting metaphor for the West’s new millennium paranoia and its interminable war on terror, Mignola’s exploration of his ever-expanding fictional mythology evokes many of the same socio-political themes found in classic Fifties sci-fi movies – only with far better special effects.
With a good portion of this first installment dedicated to a debate between a group of rambling hobos over the origins of the world’s ongoing paranormal crisis, writers Mignola and Allie provide their audience with a gritty, grounded insight into the repercussions the demonic attacks have on the so-called man on the street (or the rails, in this case). Eschewing the resources and support of his BPRD colleagues, Abe seems driven to uncover the mystery of his own origins in the hopes of staving off a full-scale paranormal invasion.
Mignola and Allie’s character-driven script is spot-on, with sharp dialogue and an even pace. My only concern is that these stories are becoming a little formulaic or retread. While plot specifics have certainly changed, I couldn’t help feeling I’d read this story somewhere before – in the pages of Hellboy. Despite this and thanks to Fiumara’s stunning textured art, Abe Sapien manages to lure the reader in with its distinct visual tone and well-crafted, three dimensional characters.
Although the overall plot may seem ultimately familiar, there also seem to be enough new twists and turns in Abe’s life that the series will hopefully build and retain its own distinct identity within the confines of Mignola’s mythology. With only a single issue to go on, it’s hard to say whether or not the series will be successful in this endeavor but with this new creative team and Mignola’s guidance, it’s a safe bet Abe Sapien will be haunting the shelves of your LCS for some time to come.
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