Let’s cut to the chase with this review: The Pack is a wickedly swank werewolf comic that horror fans will dig. The first issue, published by Th3rd World Studios, is written by Mike Raicht and drawn by Daniel Faccilongo, the combination of the two bringing us one of the most interesting werewolf comics to date. Yes, I know werewolves are becoming the new vampires (which were the new zombies). Yes, I know someone is going to take a few shots and write it off comparing it to MTV’s new Teen Wolf. While the prior two elements have truths in them, The Pack to me still feels very much like its own thing.
Warning Possible Spoiler Start (skip down in case that kind of stuff bothers you).
The story starts out with police reporting to a campsite where an apparent bear attack has taken place. It is soon revealed in flashbacks that this is no bear, but a case of lycanthropy at its worst. David and his Dad take a few days to gather themselves up from the attack and the loss of their Mom/Wife, and David’s Dad vows to him that they will get revenge for this murder. Fast forward one year and refocus one year. Greg and Annie are new kids getting over the lose of their Mom and starting at a new high school. Things don’t go terrible, but between the cheerleaders and the football squad, the newbies are not given a warm welcome. If anything, Greg receives a warm warning from the other footballers. While at practice, the coach lets the team know about the death of one the students, and Greg and Annie attend the funeral. At the cemetery, Greg is singled out by the football players for being there since he didn’t know the kid who died, adding more to the high school blues. Then as fate would have it, David is there at a different grave, today burying his father (who we can assume was killed trying to hunt down the werewolf). Their paths cross and Greg tries to reach out to David, but it seems David has other plans in mind.
Spoiler End (if you want, it’s safe to read again).
The opening in the woods is fantastic and my personal favorite part of the comic. A little action, some gore, a glimpse of the monster, and the set-up of one of our two leads’ paths. Solid work, almost summoning some kind of cool 1980s horror movie flare. Raicht does a great job fleshing out the characters in a high school that might be from hell story line, that felt in line with some of the best tales of its kind. The artwork by Faccilongo is great. I like looking at his characters, I like how the werewolf appeared at the start of the book, and I like his page layouts, so add it up and it’s visually not just a nice piece to read, but also is one that captures the darker tone we need for a comic like this to work and not be campy.
Now, yes, I like werewolves a lot. From them being in Washington to crossing blows in the Marvel universe, I’ve always liked this brand of monster best; hell, Werewolves of London is on my iPod. That said, any time one shows up, I run with the beast and so I have seen the whole gamut, from the down right disappointing to the high-fives amazing werewolf stories. The Pack is on the higher end of things in my book, and is worth picking up when it hits stands in October!