Some of the most interesting stories feature strong POC protagonists, which is why I’ve enjoyed reading Saladin Ahmed’s Abbott series, which features tough as nails reporter Elena Abbott. Set in 1970s Detroit, Ahmed’s comic weaves together occult and noir themes to create a political thriller with memorable characters. Abbott #2 picks up from where the first issue started and it’s safe to say there’s a mystery that needs to be solved.
The story begins with Abbott being confronted by a demonic entity in a mask that tries to kill her. Thinking on her feet, Abbott flashes her camera, only for the creature to vanish. It becomes clear that the entity had only intended to mark Abbott so her movements could be tracked by a supernatural force that has ties to her late husband Samir.
Although shaken by her experience, Abbott continues to investigate a series of brutal murders that have been pinned on the black community. Her reporting has put her at odds with newspaper bosses, highlighting the racism that was prevalent during the 1970s. Abbot starts looking for leads and it brings her into the path of her former lover Amelia Chee.
The interaction between Abbott and Chee is the strongest part of the issue, with the tension weighing heavy. Chee comes off as sleek and seductive, working outside of the law to get the answers she needs. The history between the two women hangs above them like a noose, slowly tightening, waiting to snap taut. I’m definitely intrigued to find out more about their relationship in later issues.
Ahmed’s plotting is crisp and clever, presenting Abbott as a resilient woman who’s determined to find the truth no matter what. A storytelling device I enjoyed was the newspaper clipping text boxes that were used to show the story that Abbott was writing about the murders. It reveals a lot about the times without the need to go into a lot of detail. Sami Kivela’s art is as colourful and trippy as the previous issue. Character expressions are rendered well, with a lot of lighting to showcase different moods.
Abbott #2 continues to build the plot and reveal more of the character’s world and her history. Ahmed is telling an excellent story and he’s in no rush to reveal the end game.