Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mike Mignola, Scott Allie
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Release Date: 13th August 2014
I tell you, I’m not sure if there’s a better suited person on the face of this planet to illustrate a horrific, multi-tentacled monstrosity violating someone’s eyes, nose and mouth than Juan Ferreyra. Seriously, the guy seems to live for this kind of grotesque, wince-inducing imagery. Ferreyra joins the Mignolaverse in this one-shot flashback issue of Abe Sapien, in a story which features all manner of familiar faces from Abe’s past, and an intriguing (and truly horrifying) threat.
Full disclosure, I’m a little behind on my Abe Sapien reading, so some of the subtle nuances of this story whizzed gleefully over my head. There are obviously a lot of references to previous missions, events and whatnot, and in that respect I’m sure that seasoned Sapien readers will get a lot more out of this issue than casual followers like myself. That said, the story itself is a straightforward enough read, and the theme of battling our past and not letting it define us is easy to get on board with.
As could be easily predicted, Mignola and Allie once again present Abe as a fully-realised, three-dimensional character – perhaps a little more serious than in some previous issues, but the context of the story explains that change in attitude. The dialogue between Abe and the other characters (who I shall omit from naming in the interest of avoiding spoilers) flows naturally, and the moderate level of exposition is handled subtly and with restraint.
For me though, this book is all about the artwork. It’s difficult to think of an artist right now whose work I am so consistently impressed by than Juan Ferreyra. With detailed characters picked out in sketchy, almost pencil-shaded colours, Ferreyra uses this book to perfectly showcase perhaps his two strongest suits as an artist; a gift for fantastic facial expressions, particularly when it comes to portraying fear or pain, and the ability to deliver scenes of utterly stomach-churning horror with apparent ease. Seriously, some of the scenes in this book are disturbingly fantastic, and would make worthy additions to my rapidly-expanding wall of ‘Ferreyra Art’.
Overall, while this one-and-done story may not quite qualify as essential reading, even for die-hard Abe Sapien fans, this issue is most definitely worth picking up for the quality of the artwork alone. The opportunity to see one of today’s top artists taking on such a well-established character is one that shouldn’t be passed up, and I can only hope this isn’t the last time we see Mister Ferreyra in the Mignolaverse in the months and years to come.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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