“Abe Sapien” #17 brings the end of one part of the titular character’s journey. Having spent the series slowly moving towards the town in Texas where Abe Sapien was shot and then transformed into a more alien appearance, this issue finishes up a two-part story with Abe and his new companion Grace discovering what’s happened in his absence. But even as Abe’s travels continue past this issue, Mike Mignola, Scott Allie and Sebastian Fiumara’s story feels a bit anticlimactic.
The biggest problem is that after all of this build-up, there’s not a lot to chew on now that we’re at the spot of Abe’s metamorphosis. Aside from Abe recognizing some of the people in the town (and the B.P.R.D. being smart enough to realize that was where he had headed), this story could have just as easily been set anywhere in the country. So with that in mind, what was the point of Abe’s journey? That’s a good question.
Instead, Abe and Grace continue moving across the country, with a new destination just around the corner. In many ways, the biggest attraction right now is the supporting cast for “Abe Sapien.” Grace, as emotionally damaged as she is, still has time on occasion to become the voice of reason when she calls Abe out on his insistence on moving on. And Dayana, despite being more than a walking enigma, still has a certain level of attraction to her.
That may very well be because of Fiumara’s art, which is as intricate and gorgeous as ever. Dayana is exquisite to look at, with her pale white skin and its spider web of cracks that run along it, a perfect contrast to her dark, voluminous hair that cascades around her. More importantly, Dayana is drawn with a certain element of grace that exudes from the pages. She doesn’t walk into rooms, she glides into them. Whenever she’s present, even if she’s off to one side, Fiumara makes her the center of attention. And when Dayana finally uses her abilities to stop some of the mutants, it’s almost like a supernatural phoenix. The smears of ink that blast off around her, the way that she’s a shadow rather than a fully formed figure… well, it’s enough to make you jump.
Fiumara’s art is the real attraction for “Abe Sapien” #17, at the end of the day. With a five-part story kicking off next month, hopefully the book will find some of its drive once more; doubly so with a spotlight on Grace just around the corner. This book has its ups and downs, but on the bright side, there’s always something to make tuning in worth it. Still, I’d rather the book be great all around month-after-month; hopefully this was just a temporary lack of drive.