Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest TPB

Is there a more consistent, entertaining book on the stands than Mike Mignola’s BPRD titles? I really don’t think so. Even the spin-offs from the spin-offs are excellent at this point, and honestly, if I could only follow one comic, I think BPRD might be it.

John Arcudi and Mike Mignola serve up more of the scariest monsters I can imagine in this trade, but they never short on the characterization either. Each of the stories collected stars Abe Sapien, he’s definitely the headliner. But the BPRD has a presence, and the locals fill out each chapter too. I like Sal, the new BPRD field agent that joins Abe on a couple of the missions. I think it’s important to have more names associated with those grunts that go out and get slaughtered on the missions with the main agents.

The collection has a nice variety of monsters, too. Ghosts, zombies, and Cthullian demons, every base is covered. I appreciate that the zombie story in particular is a lot more sedate and emotional than the average undead tale.

And Hellboy. Man, he barely shows up, but when he does, it is fantastic. One of my favorite tricks in storytelling is having an established bad-ass talk favorably about someone else. Having Hellboy talk up Abe just as Abe is taking care of business? Brilliant. I still have a hard time remember just how tough Abe can be. He’s a pretty suitable replacement for Hellboy.

As always, Dark Horse has a great line-up of artists. Peter Snejberg is most familiar for me, and he gets a fairly sedate tale that’s a lot more gross-out than horror. He handles it wonderfully, rupturing zombie bellies and all. James Harren is impressive in his tale as well. The horrific, Legend-style devil in the basement is a stop and stare moment, and the gross little creatures feeding on unconscious Abe really are almost cute while retaining their ickiness. Patric Reynolds does a nice job on his one-shot too; again, while there is action, Reynolds keeps the focus on the emotional toll of these battles with the horrific.


No comments: