Saladin Ahmed’s Abbott is set in the city of Detroit in the early 1970’s where the main protagonist, Elena Abbot, navigates the treacherous waters of institutional (and individual) racism and sexism while burdened with the truth about the occult. Aside from the cars, the clothes, and the distinct lack of smartphones, the story of Abbott is just as fresh as anything set in 2018 which proves that what is old is new again and never aged in the first place.
We’re introduced to Abbott in the first issue. We learn that is she a hard-drinking, chain-smoking, tenacious reporter who won’t stop at anything to find the truth about a couple of gruesome murders that seem to have nothing in common. Abbot knows the truth, but no one seems particularly interested – especially the police. But, through carefully crafted flashbacks, we learn they actually have a lot in common and have everything to do with the murder of Abbott’s husband at the hands of shadowy supernatural forces years earlier.
Abbott is a good old-fashioned supernatural crime thriller with an angle that keeps it relevant and engaging. Ahmed does a good job of turning tropes on their head making the character of Elena compelling and holistic. She is a “strong female character” who is not afraid to show her vulnerability because that is what gives her the strength to move forward and makes us cheer for her as she does so. I can’t wait to see where her journey takes us next.