Monday, April 8, 2013
Abe Sapien #1, Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the B.P.R.D.
Dark and Terrible (1 of 3)
Writers: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Artist: Sebastian Fiumara
Colors: Dave Stewart
Abe Sapien #1 is the first Hellboy/B.P.R.D. comic I've bought since the original Lobster Johnson miniseries came out years ago. Actually, I didn't even buy this. Courtney was interested and, despite my observance that I never buy Mignolaverse books because I feel like I'm constantly in the middle of a story, she bought it anyway. Well, this issue proved my concern about the accessibility of the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. comics to be true, but at the same time, it's just so well drawn and compelling that I don't really care.
This issue certainly takes place within the context of the greater B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth storyline, of which I'm only vaguely familiar. It does very little to try and bring new readers up to speed other than lay out the very basics of the story: big demon crab-spiders called the Ogdru Hem seem to be crawling out of the earth and laying eggs all over the United States, and Abe Sapien has gone awol for reasons unknown. The mystery of why Abe has left the B.P.R.D. to go on his own adventure is so far unexplained, but I'm sure it will be revealed as Mike Mignola and Scott Allie's story unfolds.
As someone who only has a passing knowledge of the current run on B.P.R.D. and Abe Sapien's backstory, I found myself lost in the middle of the bigger picture, but intrigued by the small story presented here. In a sense, this is really how the story unfolds itself, as a group of hobos on a train swap stories about the Ogdru Hem, the devastation they've seen across American, and their theories about how the federal government is or is not responding to this demonic threat. The bigger picture is lost on these homeless men, and as a new reader I identified with their fundamental lack of context or understanding.
If I'm being honest, I'd say that anyone who considers picking this up and isn't following B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth should probably start there, as it will provide a lot of the context for the story presented here, but readers who are curious about diving into the expanded Hellboy universe could do a lot worse than starting off with this new ongoing series starring one of Mignola's most memorable characters.