Abe Sapien (Vol. 3): Dark and Terrible and The New Race of Man: Two more dark, mid-apocalyptic stories

https://s3.amazonaws.com/fanlit/images/5stars.gif Abe Sapien (Vol. 3): Dark and Terrible and The New Race of Man by Mike Mignola (writer), Scott Allie (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Sebastian Fiumara (art), and Max Fiumara (art), Dave Stewart (colors), and Clem Robins (letters)

“Dark and Terrible” starts with the discussion of the continuing developments around the world: the rise of the monsters. The B.P.R.D. discuss what to do about the monsters and talk about what has happened to Abe Sapien. Meanwhile, in a train car, hobos discuss the monsters while Abe, wrapped up in a disguise, listens in on their conspiracy theories. When one of the men abruptly takes off Abe’s disguise, a fight erupts only until the train stops and the B.P.R.D. start their search of the train cars for Abe. Abe, however, manages to escape into the woods and goes on the run again.

The question being explored in this story is the continuing one of what created Abe and his more recent changes and why he is unique. While many people around the world are being changed into mindless monsters, Abe never loses his humanity no matter how much he changes on the outside. We see this in a great monster fight during which Abe is pitted against the humans turning into monsters. Abe encounters old friends, and not all of them make it out unscarred. But we do get a great monster battle that reminds us that this continues to be a horror title at heart.

In “The New Race of Man,” Abe meets up with a small group of wanderers, and as they sit by a fire, they discuss the changes in the world and Abe’s role in the new world that’s come into being. Unfortunately, not all in the group are as kind to Abe as they could be and Abe has to fight yet again to save his skin. But some of the wanderers look to Abe as a leader, seeing him as someone to look up to and follow. They see this as a spiritual quest and see Abe as offering insight into that quest. However, when one of the group attacks Abe and ends up killed the next day, the wanderers wonder if Abe is to blame, seeking vengeance on him for the attack. But Abe convinces them otherwise, and he goes to seek out the creature that killed this young man. What he finds out leads to a surprise reveal about the death of the young man.

Throughout this story and the previous one we get glimpses into Abe’s past. Nothing is told to us in a definitive way; instead, we get hints and vague images, many of them from under water. Reading these books in order is essential; each story is merely a small tale in a larger narrative tapestry, so Abe’s past as it’s presented in these stories is really a visual reminder, without exposition, about where Abe came from. Not a lot happens in each story, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing: These stories really help flesh out the larger story, giving us a sense of how the whole world has changed by giving us a picture or two of a few isolated communities in the United States. This is another excellent entry in the Abe Sapien series.


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BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Read Brad's series on HOW TO READ COMICS.

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