Wolf Vol 1: Blood and Magic from Image Comics
California is apocalypse central, and L.A. is it's heart. The mean streets of L.A. can be a lot meaner than you think; that's where Antione Wolfe comes in. Wolfe is a paranormal detective and peacekeeper with a constant death wish - problem is...He can't die. And because of an incident he suffered in Iraq, Wolfe can see much more than the normal 3% of visible light that normal humans can see, maybe even more than the vampires, werewolves, and other monsters that walk the streets of Los Angeles, hiding in plain sight. In order to score the money necessary to rescue his brother from an undeserved prison sentence, Wolfe takes a case that makes him sick to his stomach: finding the ghost of a dead woman for a live bigot. On the side, he helps his friend, Freddy Chtonic, a child of Lovecraft's Old Ones, stop his vampiric landlord from strong-arming him on his rents. In the midst of this all, a teenage orphan whose parents were savagely murdered pops up on his doorstep, looking for his help. And she is far more than she seems to be. It all is. And it's all tied to the end of days. It's up to Wolfe to figure it all out, to let his perception guide him to the connection, before the coming apocalypse burns the world down.
Ales Kot is a newcomer to the comics industry, and he has been making a lot of noise. With mind-bending hits under his belt such as Zero, The Surface (which I reviewed on CPG) and Material (which Gil reviewed of CPG), Kot brings us Wolf, which may be a masterpiece of modern comics. Antione Wolfe is a little John Constantine, and little Dylan Dog, all packaged in a new, fresh character that will resonate with both more mature comics fans and younger alike. Antione can't die, and he can't look away; his perception won't let him. He tries to distract himself with drugs and booze, but he can't stay inside his haze, because, underneath it all, no matter how much he wants to die, or deny who he is, Antione Wolfe is a hero - a good man, and immortal, in a miserable, very bad world. So, there is no end to his pain. Wolfe is a likable, tragic character, and probably very relevant to our times, as Constantine was relevant to the age of punk rock; however, where John Constantine wants it all and actively seeks the magic, Wolfe wants none of it, and actively seeks death.
Kot creates an engrossing, burdensome, dark world that the reader cannot escape. Nor do they want to. Wolf is a true page-turner, a wildly effective supernatural crime-noir, with a very world-weary, unwilling protagonist. Humans wander unaware through a world made to prey upon them, a world of vampires, werewolves, succubi, Old Ones, and so much more - This Wolfe is at the fence to guard the sheep, doing what he can to keep the darkness on its side of that fence. Ales Kot gives each character its own distinct voice, and each is complex, seemingly not made to only move the story along, but to live its own story inside the greater story that Kot weaves. Matt Taylor's artwork is simplistic, yet stylistic and very expressive - it serves the story very well, hiding the complexity of a very cerebral story with simple, yet effective, art. Pure genius.
If you are a fan of supernatural crime-noir, this is a book that is NOT to be missed. I'm not much of a speculator, but I think it is worth your while to grab a 1st issue of Wolf. I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see this hit the big or small screen - this has AMC written all over it.
RATING: An enthusiastic 10 out of 10. This is quite possibly on of the best comics of 2015. Wolf howls its way onto my pull list.
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