Tag Archives: taj tenfold

Review: Abbott

As a fan of excellent storytelling, I appreciate it no matter the genre. Who could not love the multiple storylines and endless heart tugs that can be found in Love Actually? Then there’s sprawling and tempered narrative of an All-American family but riddled with bullets and blood in The Godfather. The first Guardians Of The Galaxy was a blend of genres but told a seamless and original story.

One of the few genres that rarely gets the respect it should receive is the horror genre. Although one of its main functions is to make the audience’s collective skin crawl, it still takes readers on quite a journey. Candyman gave moviegoers a rare unseen view of the true to life terrors those who live in poverty face and just how invisible they are to the world at large. Since then, not too many movies since have struck the balance between being relatable and being entertaining, with the exceptions of recent movies Get Out and Sorry To Bother You. This same poise can be found in Abbott where we’re taken to 1972 Detroit and a mysterious series of grisly murders.

We are dropped right in the middle of one of the hottest summers in Detroit, one which sees the tension between the police and the city’s black population come to a boiling point. This is where we meet Elena Abbott, a sharp chain-smoking tabloid black female reporter, whose recent articles revolved around police brutality and  who doesn’t care for anything to do with the Boys Club or the Good Ole Boy Club, as the snide remarks and the way other reporters cut her with their eyes, doesn’t her make flinch, but what she sees at the crime scene does. We soon find out that she had lost her husband to some demonic forces, as these memories of him flood her mind at the most unexpected moments. Soon, she is called to another crime scene, one that reminds her of the evil she seen that night her husband died, something she thought she would never see again.

Overall, it’s a sobering and fresh take on the supernatural genre, that mixes horror, crime noir, period drama, and thriller into a pulse pounding story. The story by Saladin Ahmed is suspenseful, imaginative, and enigmatic. The at by Sami Kivela, Jason Wordie and Taj Tenfold feels like it jumped out of a 1970s comic but with a new school sensibility. Altogether, a book that proves Saladin Ahmed should write more comic books as he’s a voice that is more than needed now.

Story: Saladin Ahmed Art: Sami Kivela, Jason Wordie, and Taj Tenfold
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Abbott SC

Abbott SC

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Taj Tenfold
Price: $17.99

Hugo Award-nominated novelist Saladin Ahmed (Black Bolt) and artist Sami Kivelä (Beautiful Canvas) present one woman’s search for the truth that destroyed her family.

Hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporter Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes that the police have ignored. Crimes she knows to be the work of dark occult forces. Forces that took her husband from her. Forces she has sworn to destroy.

Collects the entire 5-issue series.

Preview: Abbott #5 (of 5)

Abbott #5 (of 5)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Cover Artist: Taj Tenfold
Colorist: Taj Tenfold
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Price: $3.99

Captured by the maniacal villain who has been wreaking havoc on Detroit, it’ll take all of Abbott’s gumption and latent abilities to escape his clutches and save the city from the encroaching darkness.

Preview: Abbott #4 (of 5)

Abbott #4 (of 5)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Cover Artist: Taj Tenfold
Colorer: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Price: $3.99

Abbott has hit rock bottom—no job, no friends, and no hope against the mysterious forces that continue to plague Detroit. But that doesn’t mean she’s giving up.

Preview: Abbott #3

Abbott #3

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Colorist: Jason Worde
Letterer: Jim Cambell
Cover Artist: Taj Tenfold
Price: $3.99

Abbott’s investigations pits her directly against some of the most powerful men in Detroit.

Review: Abbott #2

A brutal attack on the edges of the latest murder scene only spurs Abbott further into her investigation.

If you’re a fan of noir/detective tales with a dash of horror/supernatural, then Abbott is the perfect series for you. Writer Saladin Ahmed has delivered a fantastic second issue that continues the mystery and horror as Elena is attacked and must figure out what is going on and who is behind it all. Is it something simple tied to the journalism she’s involved in? Is it something more?

Ahmed keeps us guessing and that’s part of the excitement of the series. He also does an excellent job of setting the mood of it all. Abbott takes place in the 70s so the attitudes of the characters, the speech used, the background politics, the visuals, it all comes together to create the story. It’s not just one aspect that makes this series stand out, it’s all of them together. The details matter and what makes it all work.

That’s especially due to Sami Kivelä‘s art, Jason Wordie on color, and Jim Campbell‘s lettering. It all helps create the mood of Ahmed’s writing. The clothing, the cars, the buildings, the rooms, every detail feels like it’s of the time and enhancing the genre. This is truly a case of art, story, it all coming together to create a stronger whole.

Abbott continues to impress and for those that love a supernatural detective story, this is a must get. It’s a perfect example of writing and art coming together and how you can use a time period to make the story even greater.

Story: Saladin Ahmed Art: Sami Kivelä
Color: Jason Wordie Letterer: Jim Campbell Cover Art: Taj Tenfold
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Abbott #2 (of 5)

Abbott #2 (of 5)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Colorist: Jason Worde
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Taj Tenfold
Price: $3.99

A brutal attack on the edges of the latest murder scene only spurs Abbott further into her investigation.

Abbott #1 Returns With A Second Printing

BOOM! Studios has announced the release of Abbott #1 Second Printing Variant on the same day as Abbott #2 in February 2018. The new hit series from Hugo Award-nominated writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Sami Kivelä sold out at the distributor level before it went on sale after earning buzz as one of 2018 most-anticipated new comics. Abbott #1 Second Printing Variant features a new cover by Taj Tenfold.

Abbott transports readers to the gritty world of 1970s Detroit, as a female journalist of color named Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes the police have ignored—crimes she recognizes to be the work of a dark magical force—the same force that murdered her husband 10 years ago. As she looks for clues, Abbott puts herself in the crosshairs of a mysterious power out for more blood, all the while navigating a harsh social environment that’s structured to protect the powerful, and prevent access to change.

Print copies of Abbott #1 Second Printing Variant and Abbott #2  will be available for sale on February 28.

Review: Abbott #1

Elena Abbott is a reporter investigating the mutilation of a police horse in Detroit Michigan in 1972. While the authorities and the press alike are quick to suspect the members of the local Black Panther party, it soon becomes evident that there is something unnatural going on and that its connected to a mysterious man from Elena’s past.

The first thing I noticed on page one of Abbott #1 was how well all the pieces of the comic book creators’ art blend together seamlessly in service to the story. Everything about it from the layout of the panels to the colors to the lettering served to draw me into the time and place of a rust belt city riven by interracial tensions and economic uncertainty.

Writer Saladin Ahmed is probably best known for his prose debut Throne of the Crescent Moon, an epic fantasy that substitutes the typical medieval European milieu for the Middle East. Detroit in the early seventies is about as far away as you can get from that setting while remaining on the same planet but Ahmed accomplishes the shift with aplomb, doling out revelations about Abbott and her world precisely, subverting expectations at just the right moments and ending on a cliffhanger that has me thirsty for a second issue. This is a far better piece of work than the earlier effort and a lot of that is due to the fact that the medium of comics suits his strengths as a writer far more than the novel ever did. It’s a shame that the realities of the market make it difficult for a writer to earn a living from comics alone because its a form that Ahmed certainly has a flair for.

Artist Sami Kivelä adds personality to the characters with his masterful grasp of facial expressions and body language. Kivelä tells you everything you need to know about Elena Abbott in a single image on page two: that she’s a tough, self confident woman of color with a finely honed nose bullshit detector. Given the scenario it would be all too easy for the art to fall into the trap of relying on well worn grind-house cliches but it never does, instead producing a vision of Detroit that seems grounded in the bedrock of realism of the period. It’s a shame Kivelä hasn’t gotten more mainstream notice before now but, if there is any justice in the world of comics, this book will change that quick. I know that I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of his work and you should too. 

Last but not least word needs to be given to colorist Jason Wordie and letterer Jim Campbell. The rich yet muted palette really elevate the pencils to a whole other level, adding immeasurably to the sense of mood and recalling the grainy 35mm stock used in seminal classics of the period like The Godfather and The Exorcist. Scenes come alive with a rich array of earth tones and shades of gray that instantly transport us to a rust belt autumn in the age of Nixon. The letters are elegantly designed and skillfully applied. They guide the eye from panel to panel so that it never misses a beat without ever crowding the artwork. It’s not easy to create lettering that pops out at the reader when it needs to but becomes invisible when it doesn’t yet Campbell does so on page after page. A veteran of the British comics scene, he’s another seasoned pro who has yet to get the attention he deserves from an American audience. 

A lot has been said lately about diversity in comics. While the creation of new legacy characters like Kamala Khan and a rising profile for preexisting characters of color like Black Lightning are valuable, a book like Abbott is probably more important in the long run. The story speaks to Ahmed’s experience growing up as a child of color in the industrial Midwest during a time of immense social and political change as much as his love of things fantastic. The parallels to the modern world, where stories of violence perpetrated both by and against the police are all too common,  should be apparent to any reader who is conscious enough to look for them. It’s a great example of how broadening the pool of both creators and the type of content they produce enriches the entire medium and helps to lift it out of the ghetto of people in colorful tights punching each other. If the next four issues are as good as the first, then this is going to be a book to remember.   

Story: Saladin Ahmed Art: Sami Kivelä
Color: Jason Wordie Letters: Jim Campbell
Cover Art: Taj Tenfold & Micaela Dawn
Story: 8 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Abbott #1 (of 5)

Abbott #1 (of 5)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Taj Tenfold
Variant Cover: Micaela Dawn
Unlocked Retailer Cover: Tula Lotay
Price: $3.99

Hugo Award-nominated novelist Saladin Ahmed (Black Bolt) and artist Sami Kivelä (Beautiful Canvas) present one woman’s search for the truth that destroyed her family.

Hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporter Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes that the police have ignored. Crimes she knows to be the work of dark occult forces. Forces that took her husband from her. Forces she has sworn to destroy.

« Older Entries