"Abe Sapien" #25 is the second chapter of "The Shadow over Suwanee," a story that has been promised to give some answers about Abe Sapien's connection to the hell on earth that's been raging across the planet for some time now. While that may still be coming, Mike Mignola, Scott Allie, Sebastian Fiumara and Tyler Crook's comic is short on plot while big on atmosphere.
In many ways, this issue feels like it's stalling. The way Abe interacts with the people in a small Florida town overshadowed by a massive manifestation does nothing, but there's no real traction. Abe doesn't learn anything new, characters don't do anything of interest and it's not until the last page where it feels like something actually happens. The problem is, it's hard to keep from feeling like this cliffhanger could have happened last month. In terms of plot, Mignola and Allie's story is at a virtual standstill.
On the other hand, Fiumara's art looks simply gorgeous. I love seeing Abe swim through waters with a mixture of drowned bodies and terrifying frog creatures. Bertie's hair drifting in the water is eerie and unsettling, aided by the dark and murky colors from Dave Stewart that mimic the water. Clem Robins gets in on the action too, tilting the "word balloons" of the dead as they communicate with Abe. It's a dramatic moment, one that is almost entirely due to the artists.
Crook steps in to draw a flashback sequence, which is a smart choice since it also features Abe's earlier, pre-second-transformation appearance. Crook is certainly familiar with the character and the genre from his time on "B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth" and, while it's not as dank and creepy as Fiumara's pages, Crook certainly gets the job done well to show us early days of Abe's explorations.
"Abe Sapien" has been a slow moving book for quite some time, but there's usually been some sort of character work to keep interest high. With even the characters at a standstill this issue, though, it's the art that pushes the title along. Hopefully some of those revelations are just around the corner because, while I can look at Fiumara's art and feel like I've received my money's worth, there does come a point where those answers need to be revealed before readers give up and move on. At the moment, "Abe Sapien" appears to be inching towards that point.