“Abe Sapien” #6 continues the title character’s trek across the country, and while Mike Mignola and Scott Allie still don’t make it clear why Abe Sapien’s story needs to be told here instead of in “B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth,” there is one huge attraction: namely, the amazing art by Sebastian Fiumara.
Fiumara’s art is just fantastic on so many levels. Take the bottom half of the comic’s first page, with just three panels to show Elena recovering from her fall and then drawing her gun. What’s impressive here is how much he shows in just those three panels; in the first one Fiumara brings all of the irritation she’s feeling to not only her face but her posture as she pushes herself up off the ground. Then in the second and third panels, the way Fiumara captures her body there it’s clear that she’s still in mid-recovery, even as she gets her first glimpse of Abe. When she has her gun up in the last panel, the immediacy makes it clear how quickly she’d gotten herself into an attacking posture, and the look on her face is so cool and collected that we also get a good glimpse into her overall temperament. It’s great storytelling, and achieved in just a short amount of space.
Of course, then you turn the page and get the half-page splash of Abe himself, and that’s where Fiumara seals the deal. I love how Abe feels more alien than ever under Fiumara’s pencil; strange, gangly, and with slightly different proportions than a human. There’s something about him that just instantly screams wrong to your subconscious, even as you know at the same time that he’s one of the good guys. It’s a pretty near-perfect depiction of the character.
That’s not even considering the Mayan mythical creatures that show up in “Abe Sapien” #6, and how well Fiumara draws them too. With Cipactlhem’s multiple eyes and mouths, it’s instantly creepy and unsettling, even as Fiumara and Dave Stewart shroud it in darkness so you can only see just enough to know how utterly dangerous it is. When the Vucub Caquix appears on the next page, its basic form is much more familiar, even as the monstrous bird-like creature still comes across as deadly and awful, between that sharp beak and the out of place tail that snakes across the tree limb. This is how the end times should be drawn, and it makes me delighted that Fiumara’s handling the art for “Abe Sapien.”
The story itself still feels a little slow, though, and grasping a bit for a larger purpose. Mignola and Allie’s story isn’t bad, but it still isn’t grabbing my attention the way that the art does. Abe Sapien as apocalypse tourist isn’t bad for a one-short or so, but six months in I feel like this book needs a stronger direction than Abe wandering and observing. For now this almost feels like it might be better suited as a back-up feature in “B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth,” instead.
In terms of story, “Abe Sapien” still feels like it’s catering to the Mignola-verse completists. So long as that’s enough to bring in the sales, fair enough. The big reason to read the title right now, though, is Fiumara’s art, which is guaranteed to knock your socks off. If he and brother Max Fiumara keep trading story arcs as the main artist, nothing could happen for months on end and I’d stick around. If a Fiumara brother draws it, I’ll read it. These two artists are just that good.