Abbott: 1973

Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä. Boom! Studios, $17.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-68415-651-1
Ahmed follows up an Eisner Award–winning run on Marvel’s Black Bolt series by bringing back his spooky-sexy urban horror-fantasy that merges newsreel details with Saturday morning fun and features a 1970s-era queer African American crusading reporter named Elena Abbott. Ahmed, a Detroit native, deconstructs his hometown’s complicated political and social history as he frames battles between the demons of the city’s past and hopeful warriors of the still-revolutionary period. A ghastly cabal broods over the city and wields deadly, body-snatching sorcery that can only be extinguished by the mystical glow emanating from Abbott, “the Lightbringer,” whose powers include shooting rays of light and summoning helpful spirit guides. The hotly anticipated election of the city’s first Black mayor (unnamed but assumed to be Coleman Young, who took office in 1974) gives way to intimidation from racists and organized crime. Meanwhile, lingering tensions simmer between Abbott and her lover and family, as well as the chauvinistic boss of her Black-owned newspaper. Kivelä stacks close-up mini-panels of heated conversations and renders spirited action, detailed landscapes, and visceral monsters (though some of the hairdos and fashion appear to reference later eras). Pulp and politics mix in this relatively straightforward supernatural tale; though it doesn’t elevate the genre, it satisfies its goals and does so with a refreshingly diverse cast. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/05/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Comics
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