In this day and age, new is always better (to quote Barney Stinson). However, we often forget about the classic comics which were released in the years gone by. One such example, that we picked up at the recent True Believers event, is Wolfmen and Fall of the Wolfmen from Accent UK which follows one man’s attempt to join a criminal gang who possess a very supernatural secret. But has time hurt this comic quality or is it a story which has become ageless?
Publisher: Accent UK
Writer: Dave West
Artist: Andy Bloor
Price: £3 each from Accent UK (or from Andy in person at your local comic convention!)
The Wolfmen and it’s sequel, Fall of the Wolfmen, tells the story of Jack Grey. A ‘small fish in a big pond’ within the world of organised crime, Jack believes he is about to hit the big time when he is given the opportunity to join the Wolfmen, London’s most powerful and notorious gang. However, after seeing their violent ways during a job which is his audition, Jack discovers that there is more to this gang than meets the eye, and that their name is more than just a name. So now, Jack takes it upon himself to seek out all members of this gang in order to gain vengeance against them. But is his new resolve enough to defeat an army in a battle where the gloves come off and the claws, quite literally, come out.
What makes these comics stand out from your average indie werewolf fare, is Bloor’s fantastic art style. It has a deep, luscious use of black on top of white that really stands out and works well with both the noir and horror vibes this book is kicking out. This is no better shown than during the opening introduction of Jack, which really gives off the noir tone, while as the book continues, the style imbues a greater sense of horror while maintaining its consistency. Of course, the work is not perfect as many of the male faces look incredibly similar, as is seen best in a panel of four men in a car, making it confusing knowing who is who. However, given how this style is unlike any other around and is just mesmerising to look at, this is a minor quibble which doesn’t hinder its enjoyment.
Of course, no book is all about the art, and these comics are no exception. With Wolfmen, Dave West has presented an incredibly noir-ish story with a very tight script. The first instalment is very much intended as a noir title, with quintessential cliches like the first person narrative and some very brutal action scenes, such as the aggressive bank robbery. That said, West does a remarkable job of slowly adding the horror elements before giving the big reveal towards the end, leading into the next instalment. However, the series falters a little here as Fall of the Wolfmen has a few differences, such as the loss of the first person narrative, which really feels like a loss. Also, there are flashbacks included here which make the narrative a little confusing. Nonetheless, this second book really amps up the horror vibe with some gory action and a little bit of noir, such as sequences between a girl and a detective, to keep things balanced.
Overall, Wolfmen and Fall of the Wolfmen are truly great titles which should be bought for the seriously incredible art held within. While the story has it’s flaws, both instalments are deep engaging reads which are presented in some of the most professional images around. If you are a fan of crime, werewolves or good art, then these might be the books for you.