Written by Tim Midura
on Wednesday, December 11 2013 and posted in Reviews
American History lessons with Trevor Bruttenholm.
One shots are always a great jumping-on point for any series and this is no exception. Abe Sapien #8, The Land of The Dead, co-written by Mike Mignola and Scott Allie, with art by Michael Avon Oeming and colors by Dave Stewart, is Abe recalling his mission to Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. The perfect cover, by Max Fiumara and Dave Stewart, is solely Abe Sapien swimming through black, with a trail of red behind him. Covers can’t get more simple than this.
Abe Sapien is meeting at Trevor Bruttenholm’s house to go over his time in Xibalba. We’re quickly thrown into Xibalaba and discover the red from the cover is a trail of blood. We learn the myth of Camazotz, a Mayan bat god, who lives underwater in Xibalba. Abe has to confront Camazotz and his vampire minions. Later, Abe is worried about the divers, while Bruttenholm is left wondering where the vampires are.
Mike Mignola and Scott Allie craft a clever tale, with the majority told through flashbacks. With such a buildup last issue, it’s interesting and different to have the battle told in this fashion. Getting the exposition out of the way early, the majority of the dialogue appears at the end of the issue. It’s fun to see Bruttenholm’s extensive historical knowledge as he rattles off about circa-1800 Prussian mercenaries in the American Revolution.
Besides a one-shot in 2003, Michael Avon Oeming hasn’t worked in the Hellboy Universe, which is a pity as his art is a great match to Mignola’s. His faces are emotive and lifelike, while his broad shots are intense. He excels at detail, especially with the Mayan statues. Dave Stewart is the common link in all Hellboy books, which allows all to keep a similar style. Keeping the theme from the cover, the underwater panels are dark, with bright reds flowing from Abe.
Abe Sapien and Trevor Bruttenholm's friendship isn't often touched on, though with this issue we see that they provide a contrast between humanity and science. Wrapping up the last few issues and also standing on its own, this issue reveals the past and upcoming future of Abe Sapien!
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