This is a weird book.
Note: I mean weird in the best way possible here, but certainly weird in all cases. It’s a hodgepodge of modern takes on the myths we all know as well as some that are new. Put all that together and ask yourself, is it good?
Wolf Vol. 1 (Image Comics)
He’s big but not bad.
Weirdness aside for a moment, the quick synopsis is that Antoine Wolfe, our almost titular character, is a bit of a mystery.
We’re told that he’s done time in Iraq, that he has a gift that seems to approach immortality (or a Wolverine like healing factor), and that he’s now a man who works as a paranormal detective for hire, using his skills and his long list of weird contacts to solve mysteries as needed.
Vampires have very specific taste in servants.
That? That’s about it, and that makes this book excellent.
Too often, we’re given too much info. Finding out about Hannibal Lecter’s childhood, or midichlorians are two easy examples in film. However, in this book, they keep the backstory to a severe minimum.
Ahh, for Christssakes…
How did Wolfe get his powers? Who is Johnny Chtonic and how did they meet? What’s the extent of the paranormal impact on the US?
None of this is cleared up. There aren’t mentions of past investigations or characters that don’t even appear on page. But the ambiguity is one of the benefits here, as that sense of dread and foreboding that you, the reader, feels as you’re turning pages is held throughout.
There’s no hand-holding explanation. There’s just the story here, and man—it’s good.
I’ll save you too many plot pieces to keep this read fresh, but the basics are Wolfe has been hired to solve a mystery, and in good noir fashion he starts to put together the pieces with a cast of characters from the underbelly of paranormal L.A.
Keep an eye out for my favorite twist on the Cthulhu myth:
IA! IA! FTHAGAN!
Small twists on well known myths – both modern and ancient – make the background of these pages pop, as every character has multiple layers.
Is It Good?
Overall it’s very solid, but it’s also the first part of what will be a much longer narrative, with little resolution yet, so a full collection might score higher. It’s got me interested enough to have this added to my subscription box at my local store, so that’s a recommendation.
Now, while I like the mystery/ambiguity – I don’t know if it’s for everyone. Some of ya’ll like a little more backstory, and I’ll admit there are a few points where I was going – “Whuh?” and backtracking a few pages to figure out where I got lost, but overall, it’s a great X-Files meets Sam Spade-type read.
Man. I know that feeling, bro.
The only other negative is that the creative team tries to be clever by jumping around in the narrative a bit, with captions like “It’s really not that confusing.” The problem is that at times? It actually is. I appreciate them pushing the structure envelope, but it’s not landing 100%.
I say give this one a try. I’m always looking for new and interesting stories because we all know that Hollywood is in sequel hell, so something weird and creative like this is always a good pick-up.