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Wolf #1: The Wolf, the Wolf, the Wolf is on Fire

Written by Nikki S. on Thursday, July 23 2015 and posted in Reviews

Wolf #1: The Wolf, the Wolf, the Wolf is on Fire

This book might start with a man on fire, but is this book one for campfire kindling or a shining light of comic goodness?


Source: Image Comics

Writer: Ales Kot

Artist: Matt Taylor

Colorist: Lee Loughridde

Letters: Clayton Cowles

Another Wednesday, another bout of WTF did I just read from Image Comics. There are a lot of kinds of WTF when it comes to comics, stemming from surrealist art, bizarre plots, or confusing sequences...but there's also the kind that's blow your mind awesome. And here, we have Wolf #1 by Ales Kot, Matt Taylor, Lee Loughridge, and Clayton Cowles.

Wolf #1 captures the notion of a creative team beautifully. It's clear that everyone on this team has put forth a full faith effort to make this book beautiful and readable, despite its hard to trace concepts. Every page is clean and simplistic in design, but that's not to be confused with the detail and small touches that make the story shine. So what exactly is going on in Wolf #1? Well, Antoine Wolfe, community fixer, private detective, ex-military and general badass has quite the collection of friends, acquaintances, and potential enemies. His life is complicated and plagued with the paranormal, including his literally fiery entrance, his clingy spirit friends, and his tentacle-faced pal Freddy. The plot thickens with the addition of an equally strange young girl and a racist white man with a favor to ask. You follow? Me neither.Wolf1.png

But then again, that's kind of the beauty about this book. Overall, the plot is interesting enough that even if it's difficult to follow, you still get a good sense of what's going on. If you're new to Ales Kot's writing, then you are certainly less familiar with his style which often leaves you feeling like a deer in the headlights with your pants down. You can see the impending doom, but you feel a bit useless and vulnerable because you just can't quite put it together. So, in the case of a Kot-scribed series, read through, read through again, and then maybe once more after a few issues are out.

The writing in Wolf #1, though overall murky simply because of the insane world that's been set up, is really a treat. I found this book funny at times, filled with zingers and quirky plot points. Kot also has a knack for developing extremely entertaining characters, whether they are blank-stare-little-girls, tentacled-mouthed happy-go-luckies, or geeky vampires. Kot adds a wealth of depth to his strange cast, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know each of them better.

Wolf2.png

The art here is similarly mesmerizing. Kot seems to be one of those lucky writers that gets to work with a cadre of amazing artists (see his run on Zero) and Wolf's Matt Taylor is no different. Taylor has a clean and easy to read style, but don't let that fool you for a lack of detail. Taylor captures facial expressions wonderfully, from the ominous looks Sterling Gibson (the racist old white dude) lets fly, to the determined stare-downs courtesy of Wolfe. He also utilizes interesting panel layouts, often bleeding together panels despite their frames. Now, add Lee Loughridge's tasteful color palette, and this book is consistently gorgeous throughout. Loughridge readily captures the California feel with his colors, using subtle shades of similar tones to make action, faces, and body language pop. Finally, Clayton Cowles needs a trophy for his lettering work. This issue is lettered wonderfully and diversely, and I can't wait to se what other kinds of speech bubbles he has in store for the future.

Wolf #1, while not a masterpiece, is still pretty fantastic. The confusing nature of the story might be a turn off to some, but this was a wild and fun ride. Also, note that this story is almost triple the size of a standard issue, essentially a comic novella. For a brand new series, you get to absorb and experience a lot with this first issue. It would behoove you to read this new series if you're a fan of the paranormal and story-telling that makes you work. So go on now, set yourself on fire with Wolf #1.

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