The Owl Tribe Book 1 (Lukasz Wnuczek)

If TV shows like The Vikings and Jamestown have taught us anything, it’s that our history is ripe with ideas with which to fuel a good story. Even comics, once the domain of the superhero, are seeing more and more titles built around our collective past. This week, we take a look at the Owl Tribe, which sees a band of Native Americans attempt to defeat a dangerous, and seemingly unstoppable, monster.

Publisher: Lukasz Wnuczek
Writer: Lukasz Wnuczek
Artist: Lukasz Wnuczek
Price: £12.99 from Amazon

The Owl Tribe follows many different characters throughout it’s tale, chief among them is Arosen, a foreign born Native American who lives alone after his exile from his tribe. However, when Arosen is approached by a masked man and his demonic elk to perform a simple task; to escort a woman and child to the Mesquoi, his tribe. However, this maybe easier said than done as darkness is covering the forest, and the Mesquoi are preparing for the ultimate battle as they await the arrival of Awaheya, a monstrous beast who lays waste to all it encounters, including a Viking ship and the Mesquoi’s enemies, the Owl Tribe. But can Taima and Enha, the leaders of the Mesquoi, Arosen and the masked man Saashim defeat this unstoppable evil, or will their fate be the same as the Owl Tribe?

With The Owl Tribe, Lukasz Wnuczek has created a comic with a very interesting story, told in what feels like a simple manner over the course of a single installment. Wnuczek has placed this story in a very enjoyable locale as he appears to have gotten the tone of the period setting perfectly within the narrative and has created some very intriguing characters, especially in the case of Saashim, Awaheya and their respective companions. However, the story does feel a little confusing in places, primarily due to the inclusion of flashbacks which have little difference compared to the present days scenes, which makes one wonder at what point in the tales history the reader may be focusing on. That said, however, these flashbacks do feel entirely necessary as they help add layers to all the characters and their respective relationships.

However, the real star of The Owl Tribe is Wnuczek’s artwork, which looks absolutely fantastic. This obviously European style really helps sell this comic with a look and colour pallette which gives it a very natural, earthy tone, matching the context of the story and characters. Wnuczek’s style also gives The Owl Tribe a very classical look, similar in look to The Ghost of the Gulag, itself a period piece, which seems to enhance the story while also creating some truly standout scenes, such as the gruesomeness of the battle between the Wolf and the Deer. What is also great is how the art often takes centre stage and Wnuczek allows the panels to do the talking without the need for dialogue, such as in the final battle, really making the title far more powerful in the story it’s telling.

With The Owl Tribe, Lukasz Wnuczek gives to us a truly beautiful comic book which tells an intriguing story. While it is not perfect, and does have a few confusing moments, it does provide us with a tale which is engrossing enough to continue on while rewarding our persistence with some gorgeous panels.