In Abbott 1973 #1, hard hitting reporter Elena Abbott has to navigate her role as the Lightbringer, while coming to terms with a new boss. On the fringes of Detroit, old, malign powers begin to gather in their renewed efforts to plunge the crumbling city into darkness. Can Elena Abbott uncover this new evil? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers reviews!
ABBOTT 1973 #1
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sammy Kivela
Colorist: Mattia Iacono
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Editor: Jonathan Manning
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: January 20th, 2021
Previously in Abbott 1973: When hard hitting journalist Elena Abbott discovered the Umbra, a powerful occult force terrorizing Detroit in the early 1970s, she came face to face with powerful occult forces determined to overthrow the city, using the transformed bodies of its minority peoples. Only when she is gifted the powers of the Lightbringer, is Abbott able to default the forces of darkness. And now, her work really begins…
SETTING THE TABLE
Detroit in the early 1970s is fertile ground for writer Saladin Ahmed to till in this opening isse of a new series featuring ace reporter Ellen Abbott. He takes the simmering racial politics of the era, the burgeoning feminist movement and adds a dash of occult forces threatening to sweep everything away. As an opening issue, it sets the table for all that is to come. As a story, it is a strong entry in what looks to be an entertaining series.
While the Shaft movies of this era are something of a template for Abbott 1973 #1, Ahmed has put a definite modern spin on it, by creating a strong female character in the form of Elena Abbott. Abbott is an interesting character – hard hitting and ground breaking in a profession dominated by men, her private life is somewhat more complicated. Abbott is in a relationship with low level crime figure Amelia – while same sex relationships aren’t exactly new in this time period, Abbott is still somewhat discomfited about displaying it in public.
Abbott 1973 #1 is a solidly written opener. Ahmed introduces the elements we will see in the series in a deft manner. While the forces of darkness regroup and plot their next move, we’re reintroduced to the main character by way of her personal life, before moving to a changed newsroom with the advent of a new owner. While he definitely makes his old school attitudes known to Abbott, she begins to pursue racist campaigning in the lead up to the city’s mayoral elections. There’s a confidence in Ahmed’s plotting that suggests he is a strong story teller – no surprise as he’s been a published novelist earlier in the previous decade, before moving into comics. His Throne of the Crescent Moon fantasy novel is a solid effort, and you can see how he’s improved in the years since its publication.
THE POWERS OF EVIL
Illustrator Sami Kivela is tasked with two things in Abbott 1973 #1 – convincingly portray the fashions, architecture and general look of the 1970s, and ensure that the occult forces swirling in the background are sufficiently strange and menacing to convince the audience of their power. Kivela succeeds in both instances with solid (though not spectacular – perhaps that will be later when the magic starts to fly) artwork. This opening issue definitely evokes that bygone era of plaids and big collars and even bigger hairs, set against a backdrop of a crumbling city beginning its slide into economic collapse and decay. Colorist Mattia Iacono does sterling work here, with a color palette that is deliberately dominated by browns and grays, helping cement the feeling of urban decay.
BOTTOM LINE: SETTING THE TABLE FOR ADVENTURES TO COME.
Abbott 1973 #1 is a solid opening issue that handles all its elements in a confident manner, readying itself to tell a new tale of the threat (both racial and occult) against Detroit, with only the uncertain abilities of the Lightbringer standing between it and utter chaos.
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Abbott 1973 #1
Abbott 1973 #1 deftly recapitulates the earlier series while setting the table for the adventures to come. Elena Abbott is an interesting character - confident in her job, less so in her relationship, but committed to the truth to enable Detroit to flourish in this new decade. While her domestic and professional life are foregrounded in this issue, her role as the Lightbringer against the occult forces of darkness hovers in the background, ready to be unleashed.