Abbott #1 is a terrific comic that I really wanted to be something else. As written by Saladin Ahmed and illustrated by Sami Kivelä, it’s the story of a black female investigative reporter in 1972 Detroit who stumbles across a supernatural killer. The publisher blurbs the story as her looking into “the work of dark occult forces… that took her husband from her.”
I loved the setting, the detail, and the character, particularly seeing how she coped with reporters and cops (as she has to for her job and calling), who despised her just because of her race and gender. I didn’t need at all the grisly demonic stuff. I suppose it’s required to justify this being a comic, what with the dark fantasy aspects and all, but for me, it felt too much like too many other stories I’ve seen before.
The character work, on the other hand, feels (although historical) fresh and strong and unique. It’s got a substantial sense of place and time that is relevant and yet eye-opening. The voices are distinct and the dialogue well-written, supported by detailed, character-building artwork, as you can see in the preview pages below.
I want to know what’s going on with Abbott’s focus on “Routines, Fred. Order. Everything in its place.” — a character trait I can relate to — but the supernatural mutilations will likely keep me away from this otherwise unique comic. This is the first of a five-issue miniseries. Since Abbott is such a terrific heroine, I hope for a followup with a different kind of story, one that better shows her off to a wider audience. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)