April 16, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: Alabaster Wolves #1

Alabaster Wolves #1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Caitlín R. Kiernan
Artist: Steve Lieber (cover by Greg Ruth)
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

The wait is over! Alabaster Wolves is here and everybody is pumped! Writer Caitlin Kiernan and artist Steve Lieber have brought something unique and fun with this book, but don’t be fooled, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart out there. Inside these pages lies some straight up horror, religious aspects, and riddles! On the surface, this story is pretty simple. There’s a girl, Dancy Flammarion, who is sort of like John Constantine, in the way of hunting down evil entities and creatures, and sending them on their way to Hell. Obviously she’s a sixteen-year-old girl, so that makes for some more interesting battles, but she’s tough as nails. She has an encounter with a talking bird, then a werewolf. The battle against the werewolf is one of wits at first, but then turns into a good old fashioned fight. This five issue limited series is sure to pack some punch with the people involved, so give it a shot!

Caitlin Kiernan has been in comics before, collaborating with Neil Gaiman back in the late 90s. Other than that, most of her work has been fiction writing, or paleontological work. So basically, she has been writing in one form or another since the late 80s, non-stop. Whether or not this will be enough to make this book flourish, we shall see. It was a good read, but mostly just surface material. I’m sure in the next issue or two, we’ll get a deeper back story on the main character, and maybe even see a few more players on the board.

Steve Lieber did a solid job on the artwork with this book.  His credentials speak for themselves (Marvel, DC, Dark Horse), and it showed on this one. The style used in this book is kind of an intentionally sloppy look, so that it adds a bit of creepiness to the story. A regular superhero style would have been awful, so I’m glad Lieber didn’t go that route. Sometimes when a long time writer/illustrator wants to switch genres, the attempt can fall pretty flat. Not in this case, though, and as I said, the very muted tones that were used were a perfect match for the story. The cover was absolutely gorgeous by Greg Ruth, and definitely set the tone for the whole book.

I can’t say for sure that the story will knock your socks off, because it did have some slow points. I will say that if you love horror with a plot, give this book a chance. At the very least, you can see some good artwork and covers. Rating 3/5

Billy Dunleavy



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