Abe Sapien has always been my favorite character in the Hellboy series, so whenever the fish man gets his own storylines, I’m always first in line to pick them up.
Abe Sapien: The Shape of Things to Come was certainly no different. While this is the fourth trade paperback collection of the Abe Sapien comics from Dark Horse, it’s a book that even the newest of readers to the franchise will be able to pick up and quickly be able to enjoy the supernatural shenanigans. As a word of warning: the following might contain spoilers for those who haven’t been keeping up with the series, but if you’re okay with a little background on what’s going on, keep reading.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The Shape of Things to Come continues Abe’s journey after being shot in Texas by a young psychic named Fenix who believes him to be a part of the events that are picking apart mankind . . . you know . . . the usual realm of possibilities that the B.P.R.D. agents are used to dealing with. The event sends Abe into a coma, and when he finally awakens, he finds himself on the run and remembering more of his past life as scientist Langdon Everett Caul.
The fourth trade is split into two sub stories: “The Shape of Things to Come” and “The Last Man.” In the former, Abe finds himself in the desert of Yuma County, Arizona, helping a young woman named Elena fight off vicious, carnivorous monsters in the desert while avoiding a militia that seems to have walled off the city of Phoenix from anyone who dares enter it. While in the latter, Abe is faced with a horde of zombies who are being controlled by what seems to be a necromancer cult. Both stories are sprinkled with flashes from Abe’s past life that give readers a look at the events that lead to his transformation.
The creative team for Abe Sapien has nailed with The Shape of Things to Come. Mike Mignola and Scott Allie continue to bring Abe to life, adding depth and details to his character that we’ve only seem from Big Red himself. For me, it’s always refreshing to see a character like Abe get his own solo series, because it gives readers a chance to connect with a character they might not have gotten the chance to in the main storyline, and, of course, Mignola and Allie don’t disappoint. Also, there’s no skimping on all the horrific, supernatural gore which Max and Sebastian Fiumara make look bloody disgusting. Both artists keep the traditions of heavy black placement of the Mignola universe but with a less graphic take, and my absolute favorite part of this comic is Dave Stuart’s legendary coloring skills. His muted, neutral palette makes Abe and all the supernatural violence around him pop, giving Fiumara’s dynamic style an extra push.
All in all, Abe Sapien: The Shape of Things to Come is everything you would expect from a Hellboy spinoff without actually feeling like one. I highly recommend this series to fans of Hellboy and B.P.R.D.