Abbott #3 picks up immediately where the previous issue left off as Elena Abbott faces down the nightmarish centaur that appeared and caused her car to swerve into a streetlight. The issue covers her encounter with the monster and the next steps of the ongoing murder mystery. Does it do a good job of moving the plot forward and maintaining the noir feeling of the previous issues?
This issue is a little too fast paced for my taste. After the comparatively slow build-up of the first two issues, it feels like almost too much happens in this one. From the encounter with the centaur, to finding clues, to a major revelation, and a change in Abbott’s life, it feels like the plot went from introducing all the characters to a total act shift. Because the plot progresses so quickly, the issue loses the noir tone the earlier issues did such a great job establishing. The issue leans more heavily into fantasy rather than noir, but this doesn’t make for a bad read — just a sudden genre shift.
Abbott is still a character with a distinct voice that is always a pleasure to read even when she’s having a casual conversation. The particular phrasing writer Saladin Ahmed employs in her dialogue continues to evoke the 70s era while still keeping Abbott grounded and unique, rather than stereotypical to the time period. On the other hand, her manager, Fred, continues to sound more like a grouping of characteristics rather than a character. He’s gruff, he’s a little sexist, but he tries. He’s tired of everyone’s nonsense. This continues to be as deep as his character gets and while it doesn’t totally kill the scenes he’s in, it robs him of much likability.
Sami Kivelä’s line art continues to delight, especially when his inks are paired with Jason Wordie’s colors during the more supernatural scenes. The ghostly smoke emanating from the centaur is consistently rendered in colorful blends of purple and black making the supernatural elements pop against Detroit’s rain-soaked brick buildings. Kivelä infuses every page with tons of detail like inky puddles and crisp paper cluttering office spaces. There are also a couple pages with some awesome paneling that evoke Morrison and Quitely’s We3 minus the killer cat jumping through them.
All of the line art is elevated by Wordie’s coloring work; using cool blues for the nighttime scenes and oranges that complement Abbott’s scarf and coat for the brighter settings. Jim Campbell’s lettering also shines in this issue. Though its used sparingly, his lettering on the newspaper clippings that lead into and close the issue continue to add a stylish flair to the comic and his action effects pop without taking over the panel.
Abbott #3 is a solid continuation of the series. Though the pacing and some of the character choices weren’t my taste, the quality of work from everyone on the creative team is going strong and I continue to look forward to where this spooky noir series is going.