The dynamic between this issue and the first is an interesting one. Both are slow and thoughtful, but the emphasis shifts somewhat from the art to the writing here while Snejbjerg and Stewart maintain the same high quality of last month’s issue. Because of the lighter, more ambient nature of the first issue, the conclusion to this story has more plot-oriented material; Mignola and Arcudi provide interesting insight into Abe Sapien’s character as he reacts to an unusual situation.
As part of a mission to recover Melchiorre’s Burgonet, a medieval combat helmet that apparently has the ability to heal wounds of the wearer, Abe has woken up a Russian zombie that has boarded the ship used in the mission. While everyone reacts with horror and violence, Abe studies it and notices that the zombie isn’t making any threatening actions. He shows thoughtfulness and patience in dealing with the zombie, obviously not the sort to respond with extreme actions immediately. At the same time, we’re shown that a Russian ship is heading towards the area, making time of the essence. Despite this, Abe stays on his path, even showing great passion in defending the zombie, which is something you don’t see every day.
Coupled with the main plot, we’re also shown who this zombie is and how he came to be guarding the crate holding the Burgonet. Some of his story was shown in the first issue, but a more complete version is shown here. It doesn’t quite tug at the heartstrings, but I don’t think that is the point really. It seems more a demonstration that weird stuff happens to random people sometimes, especially, apparently, in post-World War II Soviet Union. The assignment of the soldier to the submarine is a weird scene and is played straight enough to make it even weirder.
As with last month, I love the art team of Peter Snejbjerg and Dave Stewart. They produce stunning-looking pages. Don’t believe me? See for yourself! The zombie in particular looks great; a grotesque monster that clearly doesn’t have any sinister intentions. It looks like a brain dead lummox, even when its guts are shot out. The work on Abe is also very strong as he’s usually quite calm, but, when he gets upset, he shows it. He can be a frightening man.
“Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain” #2 concludes this nice little series about a weird recovery mission that doesn’t go as planned. This issue fights against expectations somewhat by avoiding any violent confrontations, but that’s the point. This series does a great job of communicating who Abe Sapien is and how he differs from others.