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AICN COMICS Reviews: ABE SAPIEN! AQUAMAN! SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN! SHELTERED! Darwyn Cooke’s SLAYGROUND!

The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

Advance Review: SHELTERED #6
TOM STRONG AND THE PLANET OF PERIL #6
LEGENDERRY #1
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #8
Advance Review: DETECTIVE COMICS #27
SLAYGROUND HC
AQUAMAN #26
Advance Review: ABE SAPIEN #9


Advance Review: In stores today!

SHELTERED #6

Writer: Ed Brisson
Art: Johnnie Christmas
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug


Six issues in and some might be a little leery on jumping onto a title, but this issue does start the next chapter of the excellent series deemed “A Pre-Apocalypse Tale” by its creators. I reviewed the first five issues of this series collected into the first volume of SHELTERED a few weeks ago, and was chomping at the bit for this issue to be released since the first volume ended on a hell of a cliffhanger. The sixth issue is out today, so my wait is over and I loved every page of this issue.

What you need to know going into this issue:

The people of the town of Safe Haven aren’t going to be caught unprepared for the coming apocalypse. Be it zombie plague, alien invaders, government takeover, or mole men incursion, they are prepared and living in a fenced-in community. They also have the firearms to defend the place. Now the children, most of who grew up with this survivalist mentality beaten into them, have decided that in order to survive, they must wipe out their parents and in the first issue of this series, they do so. The rest of the issues deal with the chaos that ensues after the parents are killed and Volume One ends with an outside supplier arriving at the edge of the fenced-in town and wondering why they are being greeted by a bunch of kids instead of the town elders they are used to dealing with.

Issue #6 pulls a LOST and goes back a bit in time, telling the story of the truck drivers that arrive at the town at the end of the first Volume. Desperate himself, Cliff is trying to make ends meet by completing a delivery of solar panels to Safe Haven and still turning a profit. Brisson does a fantastic job of going into just enough detail into Cliff’s life for us to understand how dire it is for him to get this shipment through, which leads to the confrontation that happens in this issue between the deliverers and the kids who overtook the town. Switching perspectives isn’t new. As I mentioned, LOST did it pretty well and so does Brisson here, introducing a new challenge for the kids of Safe Haven and one with a desperation that equals their own.

As with the first five issues of this series, the action is swift and brutal in this issue. Just because the story involves kids doesn’t mean Brisson handles the action with kid gloves. And paired with the gritty and stark images provided by Johnnie Christmas, this is the type of book that makes you shiver just by looking at the stark images set in the wooded and snowed-in landscape (it only helps that I read it here in Chicago, where it’s barely 4 degrees out right now).

Brisson proves that you don’t have to have zombies, aliens, robots, or evil bunnies in order to tell a tale of the apocalypse. All it takes is a dire situation, some great characters, a fantastic artist, and you’ve got a survivalist tale that is destined to be a classic. Check out the first volume and then jump onto the series now while it’s early.

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written comics such as THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be a feature film from Uptown 6 Films), Zenescope’sGRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13 & UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES – THE HUNGER and a chapter in Black Mask Studios’OCCUPY COMICS. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark also wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.


TOM STRONG AND THE PLANET OF PERIL #6

Writer: Peter Hogan
Artist: Chris Sprouse
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Reviewer: Masked Man


Another Hogan and Sprouse Tom Strong story comes to close with this final issue. As you probably know, Chris Sprouse helped Alan Moore bring Tom Strong to life back in the old ABC (America's Best Comics) days. Since then Peter Hogan has become Tom's main scribe. And while “The Planet of Peril” delivered a good time, I can't help but feel something was missing.

Let's talk about the art first. Sprouse has such a unique and clean drawing style, it's often hard for me to accept any other artist on the book, though I do feel like he was cutting some corners with this series. Sure, Chris has never been known for elaborate works, but this series and final issue did seem a little more empty than usual. I also felt some of the figures lacked some good solid volume as well. But, while you may say the art was missing some of the steak, what it did have, combined with Sprouse's sizzle, still gives the book an above average look.

Story-wise, Hogan laid out a pretty fine plot (spoiler time): Tom Strong's daughter is about to die from childbirth, due to her fire troll husband's physiognomy. So Tom Strong, with son-in-law Val, heads off to a parallel Earth to get an invulnerability serum from Tom Strange. But when they get there, they discover the planet is suffering from a worldwide plague, and Tom Strange is in seclusion looking for a cure. As Tom Strong and Val search for Tom Strange, they also knows they can't return to their Earth without a cure, because they may bring the plague with them. Most of the series shows off how the superheroes…er, science heroes of that world are trying to deal with the plague. All really well done by Hogan. Building up to the final issue, he created so many cliffhangers, I worried if he could have a satisfying conclusion. Well, he pulled it off: everything got touched on and everything came to a conclusion. Nicely done, but still something is missing.

What was that something? Excitement. Even the ending, which I accept as an acceptable ending, was basically just serendipity. Mind you, not as bad as deus ex machina, but just not very exciting either. There were several times when I though for sure Hogan was setting up a bad guy, something to kick things into high gear, but nope--for better or worse, there is no bad guy. Kind of like the movie SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, where it was “wait, that's it?” Where was the excitement I've come to expect from a Tom Strong story, like in their last mini-series: TOM STRONG AND THE ROBOTS OF DOOM?

So despite Hogan's fine plot and Sprouse fine art, this mini-series just didn't get as good as it should have. On the Masked Man's scale of crap, poor, fair, good, or great, TOM STRONG AND THE PLANET OF PERIL scores a FAIR.

Learn more about the Masked Man and feel free check out his comic book GOLD STAR, CINDY LI: THREE OF A KIND and CAPAIN ROCKET at www.Toonocity.com


LEGENDERRY #1

Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Sergio Davila
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


FABLES has been one of my favorite stories of the past decade, and Willingham one of my favorite writers. I was crestfallen in 2013 to hear that FABLES was going to end with issue one fifty and Bill’s Kickstarter, BIFROST, failed to connect the nine worlds coming up just short of its goal (you can read my interview with Bill on that here).

Then, on the heels of these setback announcements, came the whispers of Bill trading Grimm for gears and Snow White for steam with a new book called LEGENDERRY from Dynamite. I politely declined an interview opportunity with Bill, because after BIFROST melted I didn’t want to jinx the guy. So, for one of the very few times in my recent comic history, I had no idea what to expect when this adventure dropped last Tuesday.

My visceral response is…it’s good. Bill is twisting the Green Hornet and Kato properties into a Baz Luhrmann MOULIN ROUGE-like frenzy. I’ve never been a huge fan of the ol’ Hornet, and again, without any prior knowledge I traversed most of the book without a concern for these brand trappings. Honestly, the connection didn’t click until I saw the teaser for the next issue and actually examined the cover when I sat down to write the review. I simply found myself too entranced in the mystery and this world that was, but has never been, to be distracted by anything else.

We’re never given a specific time or place for LEGENDERRY, but Davila paints for us a city so grand in scope we can only guess it’s New York. Horse-drawn carriages and Victorian garb adorn this city, but the vibe is clearly the roaring 1920s. 90% of the book takes place in the Scarlet Club, a grand palace reminiscent of the dinner clubs where the elite would meet to rub elbows, dance and of course get sauced on the finest liquors. The main difference is there’s no persnickety prohibition in this world to inhibit the imbibing of libations. No, what brings the constables to this club, on this particular night, is a young woman being chased by a gang of mechanized thugs.

Another chief difference between this world and our own is everyone packs heat; this includes the owner of the Club Scarlet, the lovely Miss Pendragon. Ironically, her date for the evening, one publishing heir gadfly by the name of Britt Reid (yes, I should have gotten the Hornet connection sooner – sue me) is sans protection, and at least for this issue seemingly without any skills…outside the bedroom. I have no doubt this will be rectified in Issue 2.

What really drove home the mid-Twentieth Century vibe (when the book wasn’t laced with bodices and clockwork, that is) was the choice of narration for the title. All exposition and a good chunk of the forward action is narrated by “wireless” personality Felix Avalon. This Howard Stern of the day has eyewitness accounts of the doings at the Scarlet Club along with the bloody aftermath when Miss Pendragon is done protecting the premises with her sword. We like to think reality entertainment is a new phenomenon, but this is a nice reminder that our grandmothers were just as glued to the happenings of celebrities as our wives are to the Krapdashians. Grandma simply didn’t have to watch a sex tape first.

My only complaint about this issue is there wasn’t a lot of steam driving the punk. Granted, I’m only a cursory fan of this geek sub-genre, but what I’ve read and been entranced with the most in the past was modern digital marvels made more massive by being analog. Show me a supercomputer 4,000 stories high so it can match the wits of my iPhone or an airplane that makes the Spruce Goose look like a Cessna…or…something…that would require a billion laborers to complete and make me drop my jaw in awe.

I’m sure my wish is coming, but for now I was more than content with Willingham’s ability to shift voice to emulate a more formal and eloquent time. Reading Pendragon and Reid debate the finer intricacies of martini making in the opening pages was sheer poetry in motion. Davila draws a beautiful book from clothes to the few Buck Rogers-style zap guns in the issue. Again, though, I want more steam-powered cowbell. I’m also going to applaud Dynamite for developing a nifty hook that actually makes me give a shit about the Green Hornet. I’ve enjoyed past dalliances with Green Hornet titles we cover on the weekly podcast, but none could hook me past that issue. LEGENDERRY has no such problems in bringing me back--even if I come back just to piece together why the hell both Legend, Dairy and LEGENDERRY are all spelled wrong.

Optimous Douche has successfully blackmailed BottleImp to draw purty pictures for his graphic novel AVERAGE JOE coming out in 2013 from COM.X. When not on Ain’t It Cool, Optimous can be found talking comics and marketing on robpatey.com and just marketing on MaaS360.com.


SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #8

Writer: Christopher Yost
Artist: Will Sliney
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Review by: Mighty Mouth


Much of the elation of a Marvel team-up comic rests is the book’s ability to not take itself too seriously. With tightly-knit one or two issue story formats, the appeal of the team-up is all in the character’s interaction as they deal with whatever plot is thrown their way. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #8 closes out writer Christopher Yost’s run on the title. Yost’s final issue goes out with a bang, teaming the Superior Spider-Man with the one hero in the Marvel U whose haughtiness exceeds his own: Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner.

The story picks up shortly after Otto’s super-sized failure to forcibly rehabilitate the Sinister Six. That disaster turned out to be a rather humbling experience for Octavius, bringing his “superiority” sharply into self-query. Pondering his ability to continue his charade, Otto contemplates turning himself over to the Avengers and facing up for his actions. On his way to Avengers HQ, Spider-Otto is drawn into a clash between Namor and the Black Panther’s elite assassin squad, the Hatut Zeraze. The result is a classic tale that captures all the charisma of the Marvel team-up concept.

Although regular artist Marco Checchetto is absent this issue, Will Sliney makes for a very satisfactory stand in. Sliney’s artistic prowess shines in the action sequences, but loses a little when it comes to capturing the emotional spectrum. His storytelling works well with only a few panels that feature risky perspective ranges. Still, If Checchetto was to step off this title for a new assignment, I’d definitely be up for seeing what Sliney can do given more time on this title.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP has been a fun ride under Christopher Yost’s direction. I really enjoyed his portrayal of Otto’s new role as the Superior Spider-Man. Yost wonderfully captured the dichotomy of egomaniac and redeemer all wrapped up in one. With Yost moving on to his new book, THE NEW WARRIORS, Writer Kevin Shinick truly has some big shoes to fill.

So does Otto give up? Can the Sub-Mariner’s ego dwarf the Superior Spider-Man’s? Will they come away altered by this shared experience? Or will they just punch each other out?

Pick it up and find out.


Advance Review: In stores this week!

DETECTIVE COMICS #27

Writers: Brad Meltzer, Gregg Hurwitz, Peter J. Tomasi, Hero, Francesco Francavilla, Mike Barr, John Layman, Scott Snyder
Art: Bryan Hitch, Neal Adams, Ian Bertram, Francesco Francavilla, Guillem March, Jason Fabok, Sean Murphy, Frank Miller
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


Wipe that smirk off your face NOW!!!!! C’mon, I know at least half of you have one simply from reading Anniversary Issue emblazoned across the cover. I know it’s a 52 fugazi and you know it’s a 52 fugazi. You know who doesn’t know, though? Little Johnny 8 year old standing next to you looking at the rack, with cherub faced optimism that inside the heft of this high-gloss stock mega ISSUE lurks something special. For once we need to skip the sass because little Johnny is right.

DETECTIVE #27 is a history lesson, a Freudian dive, an exploration of what might be, and simply worth every one of the eight dollars for admission. It’s not a hefty price, if you think about it; you’re basically buying a trade – there are no ads inside this book to stop the flow between each jump to a new corner of Batman’s history or psyche.

All the stories were great, with wonderful time twists backwards and what ifs, but a few simply stood out as grand:

GOTHTOPIA: Maybe I’ve been watching too much “Fringe” lately, but I really enjoyed this left slide of our reality, where the world is just different enough to have a Batman who is a protector of Gotham on par in reverence with Superman in Metropolis. He’s also a man with a good woman to back him up: his lady love Catbird, of course – no little boys for this man’s man. Of course, it’s all bullshit and what’s really being kicked off is a crossover that will apparently mind F Batman until he drops guano. It looks like a light four-book freak show packed with all the crazies from Scarecrow to Harley.

BETTER DAYS: Tomasi decides to present us with a mirror lightly of THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS. Bruce’s 75th birthday (Oh, how times change--remember how DKR put fifty as old), is interrupted by a crime wave outbreak in Gotham. In DKR Bruce was alone with the exception of Alfred, so he tackled the Mutants practically by himself. Tomasi postulates a brighter tomorrow where Bruce is surrounded by his replacements still so he can retire. The gangs all here--just…saggier: Commissioner Gordon, old Master Dick, really really old Alfred and…wait for it…Damian Wayne, who now dons the cowl. He looks really good after being dead for forty years; not an ounce of decomposition on the lad. The team creaks into action, leaving Alfred and Bruce to play pong on the Batcomputer….or so they think. Bruce is actually still in it to win it, and artist Bertram will win you over with the subtle emotional shift he made in his splash-size homage to DKR.

TWENTY SEVEN: MAKE THIS A BOOK NOW! In the year 200 of the Bat, Snyder and Murphy come back to dry land from THE WAKE to offer a tale of Bruce Wayne’s ultimate desire to protect and ultimate narcissism in the belief that only he can do it. Meet the 27th iteration of Bruce Wayne, ladies and gentlemen, in a world we can’t even begin to recognize. The only truism is that Gotham always needs a Batman, and Bruce left behind enough cloning pods to fill the order. There’s some Zen from the curmudgeonly 26th Bruce, some rude awakenings about some things that never change for the 27th, and the full flushing out of what could be an awesome world inside a scant eight pages.

#27BookNOW

I appreciate the hell out of DETECTIVE comics. Even in the New 52 it’s always been a safe haven for pure Batmanning with no continuity obligation. I loves me some BATMAN, but if you don’t know what the hell an owl is you will be a lost soul. This issue is a prime example of the goodness of conciseness and answers the age-old question of whether today’s audiences would like to see some old school multiple stories in a single issue. (raises hand vigorously)


SLAYGROUND HC

Writer: Richard Stark
Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


Thinking back on it, it really took me a while to become kind of the noirhead I gravitate towards being today. My childhood was propagated by only two kinds of heroes: The brightly colored super-powered fanfare that I snagged up as much as possible from the closest newsstand and muscly, cardboard cut out actors Van Damminating their way across the silver screen and into our hearts. It wasn’t until I started growing up and (not to knock the appeal of the 90’s comics and action movies I was consuming) gaining some taste that I sat down and watched a little flick called “L.A. Confidential” that, holy fuck, I realized there were these things called “layers” and “shades of grey” to be had in these good guys versus bad guys tales. You had supercops Bud White and Ed Exley going viciously after some nefarious folk, and one is an absolute smarmy publicity hound and the other is such a rabid dog that he crosses a line even comedian extraordinaire Bill Burr can barely work in material about (i.e. hitting a lady) so that at times it becomes extremely hard to root for them, except that the bastards they are going after are WAY worse. God, I ate that shit up, and it was only a matter of time before I moved on to “Chinatown” and “The Third Man” and on and on. And, despite this and having even seen the movie “Payback”, I didn’t even know anything about a man named Parker until five years ago when one of my favorite comic book creators started adapting the source material from whence he came.

Parker, to myself at least, is that absolute distillation of that “man’s man” attitude that permeates in the archetype. He’s what makes the genre to impressionable young lads like I used to be and the white-collar adult I’ve grown into. Knocking over banks run by sleazebags, laying around with hot dames in each city, running from damn dirty coppers and getting into shoot-outs. If I could successfully offer up that lifestyle to any of you men-folk out there (and hopefully even some of the ladies) I guarantee 90% of you would kiss your spouse and kids goodbye and start a ski mask collection. But he’s a bit of a bastard, right? Sure, usually he and his crew are targeting places run by racketeers or going after insured joints like the banks and whatnot, but either way the man has a hell of a body count, tends to put a lot of innocent people in harm’s way as he goes on his tears and sprees, and his interaction with the ladies doesn’t often go beyond them being a warm hole for him to unwind in during the build up to a big job or in relieving stress after one. Damn him though, he’s so gruff and slick at what he does, it absolutely oozes charisma, which is the perfect trap these types of characters set, that Parker exemplifies, and that Darwyn Cooke has been doing a fantastic job of bringing to life on the comics page these past few years.

The energy and retro panache that Cooke propagates with these translations is absolutely perfect. Since my introduction to the Parker stuff with his rendition of THE HUNTER I have been slowly working my way through the Richard Stark novels proper, and it has been a treat to watch Cooke remain faithful to the content within the prose but also to work it so it plays out uniquely in the comic pages and panels. SLAYGROUND here was the one I was most excited for after having read the book, because that work is an absolute thrill ride of Parker “Home Alone”-ing a local mobster and some crony cops in an amusement park after a job gone bad. Seeing him in motion as he moves from ride to ride setting his traps and waiting for the inevitable waves of crooks to come in and test his ferocity and wits tapped really well into that thrill we all get whenever we all pay out $10 to see Marvel product on the big screen a handful of times each year. There’s a sequence in the book where Parker as he’s setting up his amusement park of horrors goes to the “House of Mirrors” and paints dots on all of them, for whatever poor bastard shows up and gets it too late. The anticipation of this happening as Parker casually sets this up until the point where he happens to drop the hammer on the poor sap – who also happens to be the son of the aforementioned local mob boss – is the kind of pricelessness these visual adaptations have been channeling.

Like I said before, SLAYGROUND was easily the adaptation I was looking forward to the most because it’s such a visual animal and Cooke’s style is so perfect for framing it. Admittedly, I think in the past two, more heist focused books lost a little tension by dropping some of the wordplay about the players, the job, the things that are cocking up in both those aspects, and how Parker is going to have to fix it. Obviously there are word boxes at play here, but the thinness of verbiage left the previous book, THE SCORE, feeling a little light. Not here, though. SLAYGROUND is as ferocious with Parker in visual form as Stark was with him completely in written. It’s what wannabe tough guys like myself (I’d like to make at least a claim at being a real tough guy, but I literally just nuzzled with my cat before writing this sentence, so…) fall in love with this genre for: bad guys being taken by an even worse man with a chip on his shoulder and a penchant for getting into danger. It’s as glorious for me now getting in late to the party as it probably was for those first experiencing it when it was published 60 years ago. With that, I bow at the altar of Darwyn Cooke for continuing to make a kickass adaptation of it in my favorite medium, and for showing me what I fool I was for not being acquainted with Parker in the first place. Another year for the next volume is sucky, but at least it’ll give me time to polish off the rest of the prose volumes and get any of you other heathens the opportunity to read and spread the word. Cheers…

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


AQUAMAN #26

Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Paul Pelletier and Netho Diaz
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man


So it's a new era of Aquaman comics, now that Geoff Johns has gone off to bigger and better things. First AQUAMAN had to survive the loss of Ivan Reis, which it mostly has as Paul Pelletier continues to draw a strong book. Now the question is, can it survive the loss of Johns?

The new writer, Jeff Parker, whose writing is probably best known over at Marvel with AGENTS OF ATLAS and the current THUNDERBOLTS run, appears to at least have a copy of Johns’ play book. This first issue covers a lot of Johns-esque material with Amnesty Bay and Atlantis' views on Arthur and his wife, and the next story arc will seemingly be wrapped up in Atlantean history as well, though the one thing Geoff Johns did so well with Aquaman wasn't the history or the updating--it was that he didn't try to 'fix' Aquaman. He just wrote cool Aquaman stories. So far it seems like Parker set to do the same thing.

Though I do worry about things, like the Mera and Aquaman fastball special: wouldn't it just make a hell of a lot more sense to get Arthur some kind of Atlantean tech vehicle? I'm also not crazy about the idea of Aquaman now being strong enough to slug it out with giant sea monsters, when he should just be able to command it. That just smells like someone trying to 'fix' Aquaman- weakening his 'lame' marine life control and increasing his 'cool' physical strength. Oh yeah, I know Johns started that--never said Johns’ run was flawless.

Bottom line is, we got a promising start here and I'll be hanging around to see how it goes.


Advance Review: In stores this week!

ABE SAPIEN #9

Writers: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Artist: Max Fiumara
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewer: The Dean


I’ve never read an issue of HELLBOY or anything HELLBOY related (that’s called ethos, by the way). I’ve seen both movies, but that’s really it. So why start now, and why ABE SAPIEN? I’m not totally sure, but it’s the beginning of a new arc, and after a couple of light weeks it seems as good a time as any to take a risk.

There’s about as much confusion as you’d expect jumping into a series that’s branched off from another series which has been around 20 years now (how insane is that?), but it’s still fairly easy to figure out what you need to. From what I gather, the world is a mess; Abe took a shot or several in a previous battle, leaving most of the world believing he’s dead; he’s now wandering around Arizona where there’s some gross stuff growing out of dead stuff. I realize that’s not the most eloquent summary, but that’s all I really got while reading, and luckily, that’s all it took to enjoy this issue.

Written by Mike Mignola, creator of all things HELLBOY, and Scott Allie, ABE SAPIEN #9 tells an intriguing story that should engage readers regardless of previous knowledge. As a setup, it introduces a few plot points that could really make this one of the more interesting series in the HELLBOY or even just the Dark Horse lineup. I love Abe as a wandering Spock that helps with paranormal issues along his aimless journey, and I’d love to see it continue this way. It’ll be interesting, too, to see if they keep Abe as The Spirit of the HELLBOY universe, or what Mignola and Allie decide to do now that the Abe is believed dead.

Max Fiumara handles the art for ABE SAPIEN, and he does a great job capturing the tone and look of Mignola’s creation. A lot of that may be due to the contributions of colorist Dave Stewart, who’s no stranger to Mignola’s work, but Fiumara creates a great visual experience that looks as crime noirish as it does horror/fantasy. It’s weird to read an issue of anything that doesn’t feature a single splash page, either. I almost didn’t realize you could end a story without a splash reveal, but Fiumara seems to be the type of artist who knows when to lay low and support the story, rather than always creating opportunities to thicken his art portfolio.

It may be an odd choice to start with, but I enjoyed my introduction to Mignola’s world with this one. From what I’ve read, ABE SAPIEN #8 is a great one-shot that may be more friendly to newcomers, so I’ll probably be picking that up this week, but ABE SAPIEN #9 has me on board. It’s easy to see why these characters have been around for twenty years, and if it keeps up, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes my favorite horror/fantasy titles in as many.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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