We take a look at the first volume of Woodland Creatures, sub-titled Wild Souls, fresh from its Kickstarter success last year as it tells the story of two werewolves as they struggle to live and stay under the radar in the Big City. Can Cristina Roswell’s title take a bite out of the competition and prove itself a success or will it find itself lacking a full moon of success?
Publisher: Self Published
Writer: Cristina Roswell (Creator/Writer), Fali-Ruiz Davila (Script)
Artist: Tomas Aira (Artist), Gonzalo Duarte (Letterer)
Price: £12 from woodlandcreaturescomic.bigcartel.com
Woodland Creatures: Wild Souls tells the story of Callie and Chris, a young couple who make the big change of living in the near isolation of Alaska to the bright and busy streets of New York City. However, while many would struggle with the change in environment, this pair find themselves in my difficulty due to their secret heritage as Werewolves. Now Callie and Chris are needing to learn to co-exist with humans in a world where their existence is kept secret. However, when Callie’s animal instincts begin to get the better of her, it begins a chain of events which sees both her and Chris facing the wrath of a military hell bent on weaponising them and their kind.
Cristina Roswell and Scripter Fali-Ruiz Davila have produced and comic that is an interesting read built around a very intriguing concept. Feeling like a combination of elements seen previously in Men in Black (aliens living in secret), X-Men (fear and persecution) and the film, Only Lovers Left Alive (creatures living in plain sight), Woodland Creatures has a very political undercurrent to it, seemingly implanting werewolves as a form of religious/ethnic persecution all too often seen in society today. In fact, this notion of ‘werewolves being a threat to humanity’ is the driving force to not just the plot but the main character dynamics.
As such, the characters of Callie and Chris have an complex relationship that is not just lovers but akin to an apprentice/teacher dynamic, as Chris continues to teach/lead/order Callie into doing certain things to maintain cover, the latter of whom feeling this goes against what is natural. As a result, there is a great degree of friction between the two with their opposing ideologies. However, while the title offers a very multi-faceted story, it still leaves a lot more questions than answers such as confirming what an ‘Amoraq’ is. Woodland Creatures feels like it was dropped in the middle of the story and, as such, feels lacking in much needed backstory for Chris and Callie, although this maybe by design and something we see in future issues.
Meanwhile, on the visual side, Tomas Aira offers a truly gorgeous style with crisp, clean lines. While the panels have a very mature, but not gratuitous, vibe, Aira’s work is very reminiscent of much of 2000AD’s work but mixed with some of the recent Humanoid titles to give it something of a more present day aesthetic. Aira’s work is nigh on perfect, let down only by the flashback of Chris’ military career which has a moment which struggles to explain what is happening. That said, this is probably more down to the choice of monochrome colouring and does little to impact the beauty this use of black and white has on the rest of the title.
Woodland Creatures: Wild Souls is a really entertaining and deep comic as the title tells a story which seemingly gives an insight into some more controversial aspects of society through a well written script and some truly beautiful art. With hints at what is to come in terms of the larger narrative highly likely to draw you back in future, Roswell and co. have produced something that is worth checking out.