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Astounding Wolfman #4

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2007
By: Shawn Hill



Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Jason Howard

Publisher: Image Comics


Plot: Our ďElder BroodĒ hero gets attacked by Jacobsonís wild wolf pack while patrolling, who are looking for his good buddy Zechariah.

Comments: This is a tightly told and focused little series, with excellent art by Howard that keeps things clean and clear. Iím not usually a fan of big dark outlines around everything, but Howard has a bit of a Stuart Immonen flair; he can keep things cartoony while employing excellent deep focus compositions and dynamic, believable angles. While his style isnít realistic, it is fun and energetic. He seems to fit this title, where the good wolves wear clothes and the bad ones prowl savagely. Gary is very expressive in Wolf-Man form, and while part of his emotional display turns out to be a ruse in this complicated tale of allegiances and betrayals, Howard does an awesome wounded puppy dog face.

You can tell the trouble here is that Gary has a wife and kid, and wants something of a normal life. He even wants to use his infection for good, becoming a superhero rather than wild man. But he seems to be in too deep with the mysterious Zechariah, and not at all on the road to becoming a lone wolf. When he takes out his rage on Zechariah, heís very convincing, because it seems some of the accusations against the vampire just might be true.

Werewolves and vampires Ö they never mix well, do they? But itís fun when they try.

A fourth element in this story (family, wild wolf-packs, untrustworthy friend) is actual non-lupine super-heroes. Garyís attracted the attention of other powers than his own, so thatís also a brewing complication. I donít know where exactly thatís going, since Gary thinks heís a hero, too, but thereís a wealth of elements at play here to keep oneís interest. Gary may be in too deep and about to get burned, from one direction or another. While the art gives us a feeling of hope and clarity, itís a little ironic, because the story seems poised to go darker and darker. And already indulges in a fair amount of ultraviolence.

Those wolves. Theyíre always so impatient. And hungry.



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