REVIEW: ‘Abbott: 1973,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Abbott 1973 #1 - But Why Tho?

Abbott: 1973 #1 is a follow up to Boom! Studio’s series Abbott written by Saladin Ahmed with art by Sami Kivelä, colors by Jason Wordem, and letters by Jim Cambell. Elena Abbott is an ace journalist who gained the bears the Lightbringer and must use it to fight against the Umbra.

While the issue begins with a recap of the original Abbott series, it does little to explain what is going on in this world, what the Umbra are, and what the Lightbringer is, I appreciate that it’s at least something. The issue opens with what I assume are Umbra discussing a nefarious plot and sharing in their disdain for Abbott on account of her Lightbringer power and some things she did in the previous series. Unfortunately, it’s just totally unclear.

What is at least clear is how the comic demonstrates all of the pressures on Abbott. She is currently living in a house she owns with her apparent girlfriend and is afraid of being seen with her and her new boss at the Black media company she works for is sexist as anything. Honestly, I found these aspects of Abbott: 1973 #1 more interesting than the occult parts. I’d love to keep following this mortal struggle wherever it leads, and hopefully to a happy ending.

The art in Abbott: 1973 #1 certainly makes up for the narrative uncertainty around the Umbra. They are visually captivating. The black and white sketching over the purple makes those scenes feel suspenseful, even if I don’t quite get fully what is going on. In the rest of the panels, I love the retail in the character designs and style. The backgrounds, especially on full-page art are also exquisite.

The biggest trouble I had with this issue, aside from the underlying plot being hard to follow, was that the letter “u” is written in a way that made me read it is an “L” and “i” every time. The rest of the lettering is generally easy to read but that one letter tripped me up every single time.

While I don’t know exactly what is going on in Abbott: 1973 #1, I do know that its other aspects besides the supernatural intrigue me. Abbott quit her job and took a 50 percent pay cut to work at a Black media company only for her new boss to be an absolute sexist. Meanwhile, her relationship and her fear around it, while absolutely matching the 70s, had me wondering why that fear needed to be a plot point. In a fictional world, non-heteronormativity has the ability to just be the norm and therefore show audiences what’s possible rather than what’s still being litigated today. I by no means fault the book and will totally accept this path if it pays off along the way. I just hope it doesn’t become a defining characteristic for Abbott through which is further traumatized.

Abbott: 1973 #1 is rather confusing, but its art is superb and some of the secondary plot points and character moments have me more intrigued for the future of the series than anything.

Abbott: 1973 #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Abbott: 1973 #1
3.5

TL;DR

Abbott: 1973 #1 is rather confusing, but its art is superb and some of the secondary plot points and character moments have me more intrigued for the future of the series than anything.