"The Claw & Fang" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Bluewater Comics
Written by Michael Kutcher
Illustrated by Matias Basla & Steve Babb
2011, 95 Pages
Trade Paperback released on August 9th, 2011
The world of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (or MMORPGs to the kids) is one that I've never ventured into; mostly out of fear. I just can't commit that much time to something, even if I can train under Batman in that DC Comics game. Anyway, what if you were playing one of these games and you loved it so damn much that it was taking over your life? And then, what if you found out you were the reincarnation of an ancient warrior that slew evil with a demon's blade? Yeah, that would blow those n00bs out of the water.
This is the world of The Claw & Fang. Two demon swords, both made to kill and both are wielded by forces of great power. Years ago a demon named Nero was summoned to usher in the Age of Man by the Four Horseman. It was here that the great King, Eremon stood his ground and stopped Nero in his tracks, but in doing so his soul was bound to this world forever.
Fast forward a few hundred years to Justin, a recently unemployed gamer who's given a strange marking on his palm in the shape of an all-seeing eye. It turns out this is a key which is needed to send Nero back to the darkness from whence he came. Helping him along is a warrior woman who's the reincarnation of Eremon's lost love. The pair work together to battle Nero.
If all this sounds a little confusing, you're not alone. The Claw & Fang moves at a fast pace, but I often found myself struggling to keep up. There's a lot of information thrown around and it feels a little cramped fitting into just four issues. It would have been better fleshed out if it had at least one more.
The art saves this, though. Matias Basla's art is incredible. At times it reminds me of Mike Mignola, Genndy Tartakovsky, and Mike Oeming. It has a very two-dimensional look to it, but it works so well with the story. Basla's world is a dark one, with looming demons and fierce warriors. He keeps up with the pacing of the comic with a frenzy. He doesn't handle the art on all four chapters, though. The final issue was drawn by Steve Babb (who also drew Nanny & Hank). While I love his art style, I would have preferred to have Basla handle all of the issues for consistency's sake. Basla lightens up his style for a big flashback scene, but I think that would have been better if Babb drew that instead of the final issue. Don't get me wrong, though, the art here is awesome.
The Claw & Fang is a quick read, but that's mostly due to how fast the story moves. Author Michael Kutcher wastes no time getting to the action. Everything is constantly going forward, but there's little time to breathe and soak in all of the information. Fortunately, the art is great and just tears through the story page after page.