Review – Abe Sapien #9 (Dark Horse Comics)

22954Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writers: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Artist: Max Fiumara
Release Date: 8th January 2014

Hellboy’s best pal Abe Sapien is wandering America like Bill Bixby at the end of an episode of The Incredible Hulk. After a recent adventure saw him shot by a psychic who accused him of being a harbinger of doom, Abe has departed from the B.P.R.D. to clear his name and find inner peace. However, inner peace is hard to come by when you’re a seven foot tall fish man.

When Abe wanders into a small Pacific Northwestern town he finds all sorts of weirdness afoot: dead animals have turned up covered in creepy looking spores and there’s a group of hippies squatting on the local golf course who seem to be hiding a sinister agenda.

The artwork by Max Fiumara excels when it comes to depicting strange creatures and establishing a mood of foreboding. He’s a perfect fit for Abe Sapien, a character of serene monstrosity, and his rendition of him is great; imposing but still approachable. Yet at times in this issue places and events become confused and it can be difficult to know where we are and who we’re seeing.

The script by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie constantly cross cuts between the multiple plots, showing links and connections between these seemingly unrelated events in the town. While this flitting across plotlines certainly amps up the tension, it does detract from the fluency of the story somewhat. The writers simply have too many plates spinning at once, with the cuts to other storylines often proving disorienting and shifts between plots frequently hard to spot. As a first issue in a new three part story arc this book establishes a murky mood and atmosphere at the cost of narrative clarity. At the very least I’m intrigued to find out what happens next. Even if I’m not entirely sure what’s happening now.

Rating: 7/10.

The writer of this piece was: Joe Morrison
Joe is Freelance film journalist based in Glasgow.
You can also find Joe on Twitter.

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