A Quick Read For a Quick Story
Having attended my first Comic Con this year in NYC, I stumbled across a table where issues of comics were being given out for free, signed by, presumably, the artists or authors of the respective series. I happened to awkwardly amble over to Mignola Harren's portion of the table, where he promptly signed and provided me with the two issues of his short series, The Devil Does Not Jest. Taking place only over 2 issues, it's hard to imagine a story being conveyed well in such a short portion of time/space. Yet, for the most part, this issue does well.
We're presented Abe Sapien, the aquatic character from the popular work, Hellboy. Going into this, I honestly had no idea that this had any connection with the behemoth of a series, so I'll be writing this under the expectation that I have no knowledge of this figure (which I really don't beyond the films, which I found to be lack luster at best beyond the costumes). Little is known about him other than through the casual conversations between him with other figures, which I appreciate. It feels natural, not forced, and makes for a mysterious and fascinating journey, encouraging readers to delve into the text to learn more. The other figure's a somewhat lackluster at best, but they aren't honestly the focus here.
The tone of the story is rather serious, taking on the general themes and ideas of a cop caper. It's a nice, consistent feel, taking on the guise of something more or less noir.
There are obviously a lot of threads left out there for the audience to grab hold of earnestly, in hopes of getting us to pick up the second issue, and it gets a little annoying just how little is explained in this respect. It makes me concerned that the second issue won't be able to cover all the corners, although that could make for a fun close-reading exercise, if you're into that sort of thing.
The art is edgy and creepy, as is to be expected. Harren draws as he always does; well, drawing me into this world, if only for a brief time.
Overall, I find this to be a pretty average read, a nice set-up to a hopeful conclusion. The only real issue here is the length; we don't have much time to get to know anything or anyone within this side-story, although I imagine avid fans won't need the background, they'll already have it. But, despite that, I think I'll be ABE-le to enjoy the rest of this tale :P