Sapien began life as Langdon Everett Caul, a Victorian scientist and businessman who became involved with the Oannes Society, an occult organization who believed in life and all knowledge having come from the sea. After retrieving a strange jellyfish-like deity from an underwater ruin, Caul and the other members performed an arcane ritual that inadvertently ended with the creature's release and Caul being turned into an icthyo sapien. Believing him to be Oannes reborn, the society sealed the developing "icthyo sapien's" body in a tube of water in the hidden laboratory beneath a Washington, D.C. hospital until such time as he was fully formed. Forced to abandon the site by the outbreak of the Civil War, the Society never found occasion to return for Caul, and there he stayed until he was found by workmen in November 1978.
With no memory of his life before, the icthyo sapien received a new name from a piece of paper attached to the tube, dated the day of Abraham Lincoln's assassination (April 14, 1865). Abe Sapien was taken to the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) for a gruelling round of research by curious BPRD scientists, and was saved from dissection by an empathetic Hellboy. Thereafter Abe entered the ranks of the BPRD as a valued field agent, embarking on his first mission with Hellboy in 1981.
At Cavendish Hall, during the climax of Seed of Destruction, Sapien was possessed by the spirit of long-dead whaler Elihu Cavendish, a contemporary of Langdon Caul, who killed the mad monk Grigori Rasputin, foiling his plans to unleash the Ogdru Jahad to destroy the world. During the subsequent 'Girescu affair', Abe and a fellow agent were led into a trap which left the agent dead and Abe with a broken arm. Rasputin's vengeful spirit appeared before him and prophesied that Sapien will one day be speared to death, just as he was.
Rasputin's prediction came true when Sapien was impaled by a spear and apparently killed by one of the Ogdru Jahad's followers. Sapien appeared to die and had an out of body experience that brought him to his former life in antebellum America. Witnessing his past self's actions, Abe entered Caul's body prior to his transformation, creating a spiritual/mystical time loop before Abe returned to life in the present, making a fast recovery and began to do research into his past life. As a result, Abe learns of Edith Howard, Langdon Caul's wife, who drowned herself out of madness, becoming a spectre that was forced to be exorcised after she attempts to have Sapien resume his life as Caul, leaving Sapien with the memory of a wife he could never know.
Sapien was contacted by Panya, an ageless mummy trapped by the Oannes Society, Sapien's compatriots from his former life as Langdon Caul, who were sequestered away on a hidden island in Indonesia, their now-withered psychical forms contained in cyborg bodies. Aware of the imminent apocalypse, the society were determined to save at least some of mankind's spiritual essence, and were poised to use bombs to cause massive tidal waves which would devastate the southern hemisphere, the souls of whose population could then be harvested by the Society in vat-grown bodies made expressly for the purpose, granting them god-like powers.
Horrified, Abe managed to single-handedly destroy the society and escape with Panya, and in so doing finally came to terms with the ghosts of his past; he was truly a separate identity from Langdon Caul, who would likely have agreed willingly to the society's plan.
Powers and Abilities
- Olympic-level swimmer, exceptional marksman and hand-to-hand fighter
- Can breathe underwater, as well as on land
- Can remain underwater indefinitely
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
- Appearances of Abe Sapien
- Character Gallery: Abe Sapien
- Fan-Art Gallery: Abe Sapien
- Quotations by Abe Sapien
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Links and References
This character exists under the Dark Horse Imprint, and their continuity takes place within the Hellboy Titles. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Hellboy Characters."