Abe Sapien (Volume 4): The Shape of Things to Come: Abe Sapien continues his journey across the United States

Abe Sapien (Volume 4): The Shape of Things to Come by Mike Mignola and othersAbe Sapien (volume 4): The Shape of Things to Come by Mike Mignola (writer), Scott Allie (writer), Sebastian Fiumara (art), and Max Fiumara (art), Dave Stewart (colors), and Clem Robins (letters)

This volume consists of two stories: “The Shape of Things to Come” and “To the Last Man.” In the first story, we find ourselves in Arizona, outside of a militia-run Phoenix. Abe meets another group of people and is surprised to find himself welcomed and fed by them. They discuss old stories and myths and contemplate what role Abe may play in the continuing apocalyptic events. Though nothing is decided, we do get to hear old tales of magic, monsters, and changes that come to the world throughout time. Some of the stories are those of the Aztecs. They are good stories, and that’s key to this first comic since it’s low on action and based on dialogue, though we do get one action scene with monsters at the very end. Meanwhile, one of the former B.P.R.D. members who died is working with a necromancer who has brought him back to life. They are in Oregon, and we are not quite sure what the necromancer is up to yet.

In “To the Last Man,” Abe wanders into a small town in Arizona and teams up with a police officer to investigate some strange happenings. They work together to save the town from some possible threat, but what they don’t see coming is the threat from the young people camped in town on the golf course. They seem to be up to something suspicious, and though Abe is curious, the chief of police is not curious enough to find out what they are up to. With a soft spot for wayward children because of his now-deceased son, the police chief doesn’t want to judge the young people in town, but perhaps he should be a little more curious than he is. Strange things are happening at night, and tensions are running high, even between the chief and Abe. We also get the continued story of the necromancer as he makes his way into the state of Washington, leaving Oregon behind. The necromancer finally finds the person he’s looking for, but the meeting doesn’t go as planned.

The comics here are good tales, and there’s plenty of horror here to remind us that the Hellboy universe is ultimately a horror-based one. We see monsters as well as humans willing to work with the monsters. Steps are being taken around the world to usher in a new darkness, and Abe seems out of his element, unable to save those whose lives he tries to aid. The storytelling is a little convoluted here as we go back and forth between the tale of the necromancer and what’s going on for Abe, so for that, it is not a perfect five-star comic, but overall this volume helps fill out the larger tapestry of the Abe Sapien and B.P.R.D. comics.


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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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