Friday, 16 January 2015

Wolf Moon #1 - Vertigo (DC Comics)

WOLF MOON No. 1, February 2015
Whilst the vast majority of comic readers probably partake in this pastime by simply having their feet up or partially listening to some background melody as they turn the pages, those who quietly nibble away at a sandwich or sip a beverage will struggle to do so whilst reading this opening edition of “Wolf Moon”; a sobering slash-fest of a book which firmly lives up to all expectations following the “suggested for mature readers” warning printed on its front cover.

This is serious stuff with writer Cullen Bunn producing all the gore and guts werewolf fans could possibly want. But without the goofiness of the 1981 horror comedy motion picture “An American Werewolf In London”. Indeed, right from the opening pages, readers are confronted with disembowelled half-eaten hunting hounds, useless severed hands still wriggling whilst clutching at rifle triggers and men having their throats ripped out. There is nothing funny going on here at all.

However “Of Wolf and Man” is not just twenty four pages of atrocious gratuitous violence and slaughter. Although the customer massacre at the Dover’s Creek Chauncy Burger Bar may make you think otherwise. Instead the American short story novelist has created something of a new ‘take’ on the lycanthrope curse. One that takes a little getting used to but quickly makes for an exciting heart-pounding read. For starters ‘the werewolf infection’ isn’t transmitted from bite or scratch to a person. It’s a spirit, who revels in bloodlust and carnage and moves from unsuspecting victim to hapless innocent three nights a month. The hybrid wolf-creature is also not the hunter, facially scarred Dillon is, hot for revenge for the loss of the people he loved.

Unfortunately artist Jeremy Haun is not quite up to the challenge of depicting this seemingly endless blood bath. The freelance comic book illustrator’s pencilling is competent enough and actually extremely good when it comes to portraying the ferocity of a clawed slash or the horrific tearing of mortal flesh. But his faces, especially the eyes, lack any sort of consistent acceptable standard; most notably when he draws Dillon, a figure who understandably features prominently throughout the panels and pages. However Huan really can draw a seriously impressive enraged and snarling werewolf, and perhaps for a title such as this, that is all that matters.
The variant cover art of "WOLF MOON" No. 1 by Jeremy Haun

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