Comic Heroes - - Comics We Rate - James Love­grove

Re­viewed: Is­sues 1-2

Writer: Ales Kot

Artist: Matt Tay­lor,

Pub­lisher: Im­age

For­mat: On­go­ing “I deal with ghouls, vam­pires, were­wolves, suc­cubi and wealthy mil­i­tant racists.”

These are the words of Los An­ge­les based su­per­nat­u­ral de­tec­tive An­toine Wolfe, in this new on­go­ing se­ries.

Wolfe is a “myth”, a char­ac­ter with su­per­nat­u­ral abil­i­ties. The open­ing pages show him hav­ing been set on fire by a gang boss – a prospec­tive client who wants to ver­ify that those claims of im­mor­tal­ity are true. Our hero is deeply con­flicted (“Im­mor­tal­ity ain’t my myth of choice,” he says at one point), tak­ing on dirty jobs as needs must, and at the end of the first is­sue finds him­self babysit­ting the wit­ness – or pos­si­bly per­pe­tra­tor – of a bloody mur­der. A girl named, rather un­sub­tly, Anita Christ.

De­spite the point­ed­ness of that, the comic wears many of its un­holy el­e­ments lightly. A Love­craftian, ten­ta­cle-faced crea­ture, for in­stance, turns out not to be a mon­ster, so much as an old pal who’s got a spot of land­lord trou­ble.

A decade ago, this fu­sion of gen­res would have seemed nicely icon­o­clas­tic, but in our Walk­ing Dead and True Blood- stained land­scape, it’s less so. How­ever, it’s early days. Per­haps Ales Kot will find some­thing new in his now fa­mil­iar mon­ster mashup set-up. Cer­tainly the con­cept, re­vealed in is­sue 2, of a vam­pire for­ever stuck on the first day of a heavy men­strual cy­cle, is suf­fi­ciently dis­turb­ing and weirdly imag­i­na­tive.

Artist Matt Tay­lor has a fluid style, which some­times jars with his photo-ref­er­enced back­drops. Char­ac­ters are dis­tinct, al­beit with an ex­pres­sion­less look around the eyes – apt enough for the mo­rally bland LA tableaux in which they live.

To play into the imagery sug­gested by the ti­tle, Wolf has bite, but as yet, it doesn’t quite have us howl­ing at the moon.

“No, I don’t ride a bike. Why do you ask?”

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