Saturday, January 07, 2017

Abe Sapien, Vol. 7: The Secret Fire

The tour of the American Apocalypse continues, and I continue to wonder how the people that Abe meets in each book manage to keep feeding themselves, let alone care for any other needs. There's no sign of large-scale agriculture in any society he wanders into, and any modern distribution network has been completed smashed to bits by this point in the societal collapse. Since many of those folks get eaten by monsters anyway, perhaps this is a self-limiting problem.

I've been giving the various Hellboy books a pass from one of my core reading rules -- I don't like to read books that murder me or my family just to make a dangerous background for the heroes to wander through -- but I'm having less and less patience with each new story. (For context, here's what I wrote about the first three books of Abe's wanderings, and the immediately previous book -- plus two round-ups of the post-apocalypse exploits of the BPRD.) Frankly, this is turning into apocalypse porn, wallowing in death and destruction just to make the main characters a little bit sadder each time, and focus them on their Amazing Destiny. And I'm never going to be comfortable with the murder of millions (even in fiction) just as background to one guy's struggles not to be the Apocalypse Beast.

So that's where we are with Abe Sapien, Vol. 7: The Secret Fire. (The story is by series creator Mike Mignola with his long-time editor Scott Allie, with art by Max and Sebastian Fiumara.) Abe comes to another small town with a secret -- this time a girl with prophetic powers. He gets caught up in their local interpersonal issues...and, of course, with the giant frog-creature/monster/thing looming over the town. Eventually, he leaves, after only a couple of deaths, to go to the next (and possibly final) stop on his death tour of the US.

Meanwhile, a crazy evil magician and his zombie slave continue their own much wider journeys to gather power in an attempt to eventually capture and control Abe. They'll fail in the end, of course -- whose name is on the cover? -- but I'm getting tired of seeing them continue in an entirely separate plot thread for what I think is a third book in a row. Time to pick up the plot, guys: the wheels have been spinning idly for far too long already.

All in all, I'm ready for some Mignola-verse people to start saving people again, instead of only getting a couple of folks killed, maybe. I don't know if there's going to be any rebuilding of civilization -- the theme of this book tends to argue against it -- but if the story is just that more and more people die and eventually the human race is replaced....well, we don't need to read that month after month in a comic book. Might be time to put "the end" on that story, and start telling something less depressing and less tedious.

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