"Belle: Beast Hunter #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Dave Franchini
Illustrated by Bong Dazo
Colored by Juan Manuel Rodriguez
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 17th, 2018
This is a different tale as old as time. Belle is a monster hunting badass in a long line of monster hunting badasses. Aided by her trainer and colleague, Candlestick, she heads out into the night to take out assorted creatures before the public becomes aware of their existence. It helps that she's armed to the teeth and well-versed in many forms of combat.
As this is the introduction to the character, Belle: Beast Hunter #1 takes some time diving into her backstory. This occurs through flashbacks as Belle is zoning out on her way from one mission to another. They're kept short so as not to distract too much from the main storyline in the present. An awful lot of time is spent talking about her adopted brother, Alex, so I'm sure he'll pop up somewhere in this series. I wouldn't be surprised if he's the bad guy pulling the strings when all is said and done.
|Click images to enlarge|
The design for Belle's outfit is an interesting mix of genres. There's a bit of steampunk, a dash of pirate, and a pinch of musketeer in there. It comes together for a cool look that's practical instead of outright sexy. It's still a tight uniform that doesn't leave much to the imagination; however her boobs aren't in danger of falling out during a fight. (I'm looking at you, Vampirella.) Her costume also speaks to the long lineage of her monster-hunting bloodline. We get a glimpse of her mother's outfit and it's similar, although it's clear Belle has updated it.
Belle has a bit of an attitude. She's clearly very good at her job and knows it. This gives her a swagger of sorts. She's quick with wise cracks both in and out of battle. This adds to her personality. We don't know much about her yet, but there's enough here to make her an endearing character.
There are a variety of monsters on display in Belle: Beast Hunter. They all seem to be pulled from literature. We've got a Minotaur, a centaur, and something pretty awesome on the final page that I won't spoil here. Artist Bong Dazo has an eye for these creatures. They're friggin' terrifying. The centaur is probably my favorite. It's a fierce warrior with spiked gauntlets and a horned helmet, not to mention the dual axes held together by a long chain that's whipped around effortlessly.
|Click images to enlarge|
Although this issue takes place at night, the colors are rather vibrant. Belle's costume is a mix of blue and gold and really pops off the page. The same goes for the monsters she faces. Colorist Juan Manuel Rodriguez creates a distinction between the present and the past by shading the flashbacks a lighter hue, like we're looking at old photographs.
Belle: Beast Hunter is like Batman crossed with the B.P.R.D. The title character has a plethora of gadgets and gizmos at her disposal, plus years of training. She'll have to put all of those to the test as a monster-filled conspiracy is beginning to play out around her. This first issue hits the ground running by quickly introducing Belle and her world.