Abbott is one of those crime graphic novels which only come around once in a while: Hugo Award-nominated novelist Saladin Ahmed (Star Wars: Canto Bight, Black Bolt) and artist Sami Kivelä (Beautiful Canvas) present one woman’s search for the truth that destroyed her family amidst an exploration of the systemic societal constructs that haunt our country to this day.
The story, which features a black female protagonist named Abbott, provides a perfect mix of Sci-Fi and noir mystery genre.
In the uncertain social and political climate of 1972 Detroit, 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.
The plots about dogged investigators who uncover a glimpse of the occult are certainly not new: Abbott, however, has made an attempt to put a different sort of hero and setting at the center of such stories. Detroit in the 70s was going through astonishing cultural and political changes. Famously, Detroit witnessed the white flight in that period from the city to the suburbs. The city was also the scene of black resistance and self-determination.
All such changes, which are also present in plot, make Abbott a remarkable piece of crime comics. The story is excellent, the art is dynamic and detailed, and the combination makes for a compelling experience.
As with all comics, the end of the comic is not the resolution of the main source of conflict, but that’s a good thing, because it may signal more to come. We really hope that Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivelä return to this world and give us another glimpse.