Comics Anonymous

ABE SAPIEN : The Devil Does Not Jest #1 & #2 by G-Man

Another roll of the comic book dice for the Comics Anon team brought us Abe Sapien : The Devil Does Not Jest.  Now we all know Abe from the Hellboy movies….but the most refreshing things about this tale….is that we get a complete tale within 2–issues and we get to see Abe step out of Hellboy’s shadow and hold his own.

If you’ve read some Hellboy before….or any of Mike Mignola’s titles….then you’ll know how solid the guy is and this is no different…..and across 2-issues we get a well-paced tale with some great art from James Harren with colours by Dave Stewart.  Now if you open issue #1 with your main character being eaten by giant maggots…’ve got to be pretty daft not to be intrigued from the off…..

Queue flashback and quicker than you can say “Marty McFly” we’re sent back to 1985 and Abe being thrust into a new case….I say new…’s a 50-year old missing persons case of Abe’s favourite Demonologist, Garver Van Laer.  A visit from Van Laer’s grandson, Peter, with new evidence of what happened to his grandfather has Abe hooked from the first second.  A trip to Maine and the house of Peter’s eccentric uncle gets the ball rolling and it’s a pretty non-stop pace as we see Abe fight his way through crazed locals and the usual demon-like creatures.  It all winds down with the discovery of the half-buried remains of a huge demon and Abe being knocked out cold by a woman/blob/demon……good old Mignola at work on that front.

Issue #2 picks up at the BPRD HQ where news of trouble in Maine sees Hellboy and Sal Tasso are sent out to give Abe some backup.  We cut back to the house in Maine and get filled in on the meaning of that first Abe-chewing-maggots opening page in issue #1.  The ghost of Gavel brings Abe back into consciousness and explains all the goings-on in the house and how he disappeared all those years ago.

The 2-parter plays out with some high-paced gruesome pages and ending in a pretty satisfying way….and that’s all down to the master story-telling on show from Mignola/Arcudi….coupled with the usual high quality art that seems to seep into the Hellboy/BPRD/Abe stories which Dark Horse publish.

It’s a world of Monsters as the main character….given very human traits and flaws…..fighting against pretty gruesome, evil monsters…..with human flaws.  If anything, that’s what Mignola ALWAYS seems t capture…..something the reader can relate to…whether that’s a vibe to the tale or even just a particular character’s outlook.

2-issues may sound like just not enough room to tell a tale of this sort but it’s pace, panel structure and keen eye on detail in the artwork holds the attention from the off.  Handy thing with this 2-parter is that both issues are out right now, so next time you’re in the comic book store….pick them up….well worth a read.


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