Published on July 26th, 2015 | by Dapper Dan0
Wolf #1 – Comic Review
Wolf is Image Comic’s latest new series and comes to us from firebrand writer Ales Kot, with art by Matt Taylor and design work by Tom Muller. Lee Loughridge and Clayton Cowles more than capably provide colours and letters, respectively.
That’s a lot of great talent, and the book certainly seems worthy of all the hype. At 64 pages, and a $5 price tag, Wolf might seem a risky proposition in a time when many readers are making hard choices about how to spend their comic budget, but I think it’s worth it.
Starring Antoine Wolfe, a former soldier literally haunted by the spirits of his dead comrades, Wolf walks a fine line between modern American Gothic and more classical Lovecraftian horror. It’s an interesting mix, and pulled off with aplomb. Set in the same seedy Los Angeles we’ve seen in The Fade Out, or in TV’s True Detective, this is not somewhere hopeful or “good”. This a city of grime, crime and corruption. Characters feel worn down by the industrial grind, money talks above all else.
Wolfe is in the middle of this as an urban myth. An unkillable magician with a reputation for being able to solve problems, be they mundane or occult. Sound familiar? Remind you of a certain English, trenchcoat-wearing, con-artist mage? Yeah, me too. With a smartass answer to most questions and a cockiness masking his troubled past, Wolfe is at first glance your typical anti-hero. Willing to deal with the worst elements of his city, but still prone to altruistic deeds, such as stopping a lower-level magician from preying on bus passengers.
Wolf opens in media res and rapidly brings us up to speed with the plot. Intermingled with Wolfe’s dealings with a particularly unpleasant white supremacist, and his lisping henchman, we also bear witness to the aftermath of a multiple homicide with only one survivor; Anita Christ. They might as well have called her Mary Macguffin. Not the most subtle of names, is it? I’ll allow it, this once, as the rest of the book is engaging and introduces tentacle-faced Freddy Cthonic, your new favourite supporting character.
Visually, the book is great, I’ve been a fan of Matt Taylor’s art since I picked up his excellent The Great Salt Lake at the Thought Bubble convention, last year. It’s similar in style to some of Becky Cloonan’s self-published work but still distinctively his own. Take a look at his website, just remember to pick your jaw off the floor afterwards. Taylor’s style, combined with Loughridge’s colours complement the story perfectly. As i said above, this Los Angeles is a hazy, grimy place.
For a first issue, Wolf hits all the right notes; an intriguing main character, several different plots in motion at once, two cliffhangers towards the end of the book and a striking visual. If you liked Hellblazer and miss the character (Because, let’s be honest, the current DCU Constantine is NOT the same one from Hellblazer) then you should give Wolf a shot, as I think it could be right up your alley.
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