4 out of 5
It feels wrong saying this, but you know what one of my main issues with this arc was? Artist Peter Snejbjerg. I’ve really liked Peter’s work when I’ve seen it elsewhere, including a previous B.P.R.D. issue, and there are parts of this story where his rounded, full figures work really well, but his Abe big-eyed innocent look feels at odds with the taciturn dialogue Arcudi gives him, and doesn’t quite capture the right tone for the agent Abe is playing off of here. The underwater sequences, and the ‘gore,’ are amazing in Snejbjerg’s heavy style, especially matched with Dave Stewart’s evocative colors, it just seems like he needed a few more issues to nail the vibe of the Mignolaverse, and the way it can float between banter and horror.
That aside, The Abyssal Plain – behind two amazing covers by Dave Johnson – has Abe and some random B.P.R.D.er investigating the possibility of a relic aboard a sunken ship. There’s a whole crew of dead seamen down there, leading to a wonderfully morbid shot of their release, their bloated bodies floating upward, but that’s honestly very much besides the point: we also get the emotional tale, told in flashback, of Iosif, and his mission to protect the cargo on this ship…
Yes, readers he continued after this point will recognize the name, and readers up to this point will be pleasantly creeped out by a cameo, and both of those things are included – as Arcudi has generally been pretty good at doing – without seeming like extraneous details just for reference or setup; they are integral to the story.
The whiny ship captain and glory-hounding B.P.R.D. agent sometimes annoy – maybe just one of them would’ve done – but they’re good foils for Abe’s more serious contemplations.
An impactful two issues.