As will become obvious, I'm burning through as many trades as I can during this holiday season. I've got a box of unread trades, and I need to catch up. So expect a lot of trade reviews over the next 2 weeks.
On to Abe. Everyone knows what to expect from Mignola at this point, and this trade delivers. The trade opens with a neat little flashback of a old-time English agent stopping an evil cult using a magic dagger. The story then jumps to the 80s and Abe's first solo mission, where Dr. Bruttonholm is sending Abe and a small team of BPRD agents to recover both the dagger and the body of the cult-leader. As nothing is ever simple, the cultists rise from the dead as mummified beasties, and the BPRD flunkies are quickly dispatched. In fact, that is my one complaint about BPRD stories in general, I'd love to see a BPRD field agent or two who could actually survive. I guess Kate Spencer is sort of an agent like that, but it seems we need more. Abe quickly finds himself out of his element. He allies himself with a weird sea-witch in trying to stop the cult leader (a demon, of course) and his underlings. Abe is fairly competent throughout, but he almost wins through luck as much as skill. It is a nice glimpse into the formation of the #2 BPRD agent. I also think this reads better in trade, since not a lot happened over all, and waiting for the monthly it might have seemed slow.
The book is filled with great cutaway shots. Jason Shawn Alexander really has the look of a Hellboy-book down. Mention cattle mutilations? Insert a quick panel of a mutilated cow. Lepers? Cut from the main story to show some sick lepers. Mignola has always done things like that, and it looks great in this book.