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Astounding Wolf-Man #14

Posted: Monday, April 6, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Robert Kirkman
Jason Howard
Image Comics
Plot: Captured by the government, Wolf-Man is on the way to Stronghold Penitentiary. His life is a misery, and still forces are out to get him.

Comments: Superhero team-ups, werewolf curse horror, vampire betrayals now Kirkman folds in another genre, prison dilemmas, and we know the ropes of those, don't we, thanks to Oz and countless other shows? Poor Gary is attacked as soon as he arrives, only his guard does his job and dies protecting him, which makes the other guards none too happy.

Gary is thrown into solitary, probably the safest place for him in a place where the guards, the normal inmates and the super-villains all want him dead. But that peace is shattered when The Face (the true power behind the walls) calls on him. Face is one of those twerpy weirdoes (this time wearing a ghostly shroud to hide his probably hideous face) who has big thugs to do his bidding and has big plans for everybody. He doesn't just want Gary's furry side, he wants his wealth and his business contacts, for some sort of vile eugenics program, it sounds like. Gary tells him to get lost, until his servant Dunford proves a particularly disappointing visitor, and he changes his mind.

Elsewhere, Zechariah continues to train Chloe, clarifying that though his blood gives her limited strength, he will not turn her just because she wants him to in order to avenge her mother. He's still got his own super-agents to help in the prison breakout for Gary.

The best thing here is that Gary seems to have finally woken up to the reality of his situation. The wildly unpredictable wolf has destroyed his old life, but he can start to succeed in his new one if only he plays the cards he's dealt with more skill and wisdom. All the forces allied against him have yet to defeat him; and none of them have proven a real match for the Wolf. At this point, it seems like Gary should follow where it leads; that's his area of least control, the force that takes over his body so frequently. He'll never be the man he was again.

Howard's art maintains a grim clarity, cartoonish and expressive without being humorous, and the colorists stay in the realm of blues and browns for Gary's incarceration, appropriately so. Another solid installment, full of such incident it seems to fly right by.



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