Honest Abe

Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain #2

Abe and another B.P.R.D. operative are aboard a small salvage ship that has just recovered a magical helmet called Melchiorre’s Burgonet from a long sunken Soviet submarine. And they soon get an unexpected visitor — the walking corpse of a decades-drowned Russian sailor. Abe soon recognizes him as the sailor he’d found in the submarine chamber holding the helmet — but after decades deep undersea, surface gravity is making him sag and fall apart a lot. And Abe realizes that the zombie isn’t attacking anyone, despite getting shot — he’s only there to guard the helmet. Wrapped around the main story are a couple of smaller stories — a modern-day Soviet sailor who plans to man the underwater salvage suit to recover the helmet for Mother Russia, and in the past, how the Russian sailor aboard the sub was originally assigned to guard the helmet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just an excellent story from beginning to end. Amazing (and sometimes very, very gory) artwork by Peter Snejbjerg and great storytelling by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. Loved the characterization on everyone, particularly the Russian soldiers, who have great motivations and personalities. And we get to see Varvara, the extremely cute/creepy little girl who runs the USSR’s paranormal research and acquisition division. Can we have a whole series focusing on Varvara? She’s awesome.

Buzzard #2

The Buzzard, a friend of the Goon’s who is immortal and subsists on eating dead people, is traveling the rough and scary country in the company of a small boy who has a case of hero worship. He asks Buzzard to teach him how to be an assassin, and Buzzard reacts by forcing the kid to shoot him in the face — it won’t hurt him, and he hopes to dissuade the kid from violence. But it’s a rough, terrifying land, so he agrees to show him how to work a gun. Eventually, they run into a cult preparing to sacrifice a girl, and after they run off the cultists, they’ve got a new traveling companion. In the backup story, “Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Pit of Horrors,” Billy and his friends are attacked by a monster-witch who splits in two — the top half can fly, and the bottom half has a mouth where her stomach ought to be. She kidnaps the little boy who was traveling with them, and now Billy is going to have to travel into the witch’s lair to get him out.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Buzzard story is full of moody, eerie fantasy/horror with some nice character work for both the Buzzard and his young friend, and the Billy the Kid story reads like the world’s most insane Western-horror shoot-em-up ever. In both cases, I approve, and I want more.

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