ABBOTT #3 by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie
ABBOTT #3 keeps the pace of past issues, with just as much passion and intrigue. Ahmed Saladin gives readers more tantalizing hints, and Sami Kivelä and Jason Wordie give the comic its dramatic edge in the detailed artwork.
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ABBOTT is back, and Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä aren’t holding anything back. ABBOTT #3 is just as thrilling as issues #1 and #2. True to form, Ahmed hides a thematic clue in the comic’s title. Instead of praising his heroine with the lyrics from an Aretha Franklin hit, ABBOTT #3’s lyrical subtitle is more ominous. Saladin references another 1970s soul hit, “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations. The up-tempo and politically charged song references racial tensions and the Vietnam war, among other social justice issues. Saladin’s use of the song for ABBOTT is an excellent choice to hint at the confusion Elena Abbott faces in this fast-paced issue.

Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Indeed, Saladin’s heroine can’t catch a break as she races through the streets of 1970s Detroit. Forces of evil relentlessly target Elena. Not only is the brilliant journalist surrounded by racism and misogyny on a daily basis, she also faces an occult magic that will stop at nothing destroy her. As in previous issues, Kivelä’s skillful layouts and details bring the action to the fore in Saladin’s electric comic.

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ABBOTT #3: The Mystery Deepens

Saladin’s writing gets better and better. ABBOTT #3 has the nuance of a classic mystery novel. Indeed, Saladin includes enough clues to give readers the satisfaction of solving some riddles, while larding the comic with more hints and roadblocks. ABBOTT #3 allows readers to work through the challenges and surprises alongside Elena. As a result, readers empathize with Elena as the mystery and dangers grow.

Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Saladin’s talent for dialog gives ABBOTT #3 the right timing to keep up with Elena. Indeed, although Elena seems to be one step behind, Saladin makes sure her intelligence shines through. Readers will admire Elena’s determination as the comic progresses. Although Elena is the focus of ABBOTT #3, Saladin captures each character’s unique voice. From her psychic friend to the overbearing owners of the Detroit Daily, the blend of characters makes for a dynamic comic. Moreover, ABBOTT #3’s fever pitch will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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The Art of Mustangs and Monsters

Kivelä’s opening for ABBOTT #3 deserves special attention. The design elements in ABBOTT consistently give the comic its drive. However, Kivelä takes this to new heights in an epic showdown between Elena in her baby blue mustang and a menacing centaur. Kivelä opens the comic onto an image of Elena in her wrecked car. Kivelä’s artwork focuses on detail, and the creature that’s after Elena is frightfully monstrous. However, the scene is not without some level of humor. Indeed, Kivelä puts Elena at the helm of a Ford Mustang, effectively giving her a horse for the joust against the monster who has the torso of a human and the body of a horse. The parallel is fascinating, and Kivelä’s details from broken glass to the bent fenders make the dark scene all the more powerful.

Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Wordie’s colors give ABBOTT its 1970s atmosphere but also add to the sense of danger and evil. The signature purple smoke that oozes from the bodies of the monsters and the bodies of the dead captures the sense of evil in the comic with sickening and visceral power. Luckily, Wordie balances the gore with beautiful blues, reds, and golds to play up the contrast between Elena as a force of good and the dark evil at work against her.


Subtle Subversiveness

Ahmed skillfully weaves together elements of magical realism with subtle digs at social injustice. Indeed, Elena and her friends in Detroit face the daily evils of racism in the 1970s. ABBOTT #3 reinforces the use of magical realism as a metaphor for injustice in America. Many aspects of ABBOTT #3 suggest that white privilege, corruption, and elitism are feeding the occult magic that is determined to hurt Elena and her friends.

Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

ABBOTT #3 stands out as a fantastic mystery comic. With a compelling lead, great supporting characters, and a forceful antagonist, it has all the right ingredients for an exciting crime comic. But ABBOTT is not just another crime comic. Elena is rough around the edges but easy to admire for her determination to speak out for people of color. Additionally, ABBOTT #3 criticizes the exclusion of women’s voices in journalism, and the ways American police forces and news sources alike ignore violence against people of color. Finally, ABBOTT #3 hints at the exclusion of non-western cultures in educational institutions and pop culture. Ahmed carefully includes these details without losing sight of the gripping plot. As a result, ABBOTT #3 has something for everyone.

Don’t Miss Out on ABBOTT #3

ABBOTT #3 takes readers closer to the evil at work against Elena. The gripping issue keeps the excitement of previous issues while driving home key critiques of social injustice. Ahmed’s writing is as vibrant as always and continues to develop Elena’s character. Kivelä brilliantly captures the urgency in ABBOTT #3 with careful framing and detailed artwork. Moreover, Jason Wordie continues to add a sense of drama to the comic with deep and ominous colors. ABBOTT #3 is an absolutely engaging comic that is both entertaining and smart.

ABBOTT #3 will be available here on March 28,  2018. 

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