"Wolf Moon" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo Comics
Originally published as Wolf Moon #1 - #6
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Jeremy Haun
Colored by Lee Loughridge
2015, 160 Pages
Trade paperback released on October 27th, 2015
The werewolf mythos is one that just about everyone knows. After someone is bitten by the monster, they turn into one themselves when the moon is full. Pretty standard stuff, right? Wolf Moon starts with those basics and takes the story of the werewolf in an entirely new and very exciting direction. Instead of the traditional infection, this is treated like a disease – or, more appropriately – like a possession. It's a spirit that flows from one host to the next, but not by a bite or scratch. This makes it almost impossible to track.
The spirits leaves lives destroyed in its wake. Imagine transforming into a horrid beast one night, brutally killing your friends, family, and anyone else unlucky enough to be nearby, then doing the same thing for another two nights. All the while, you're inside this monster's body, powerless to do anything about all the bloodshed. Once the full moon is over, the spirit is gone and you're left a broken husk of your formal self. Although the wolf has moved on, you're the one that has to deal with the consequences. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the least of your problems.
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Dillon Chase is one such individual. Instead of curling up in a ball and weeping uncontrollably like most of us would do, he's decided to kill the beast once and for all. This is easier said than done. Since he can't track the spirit as it jumps from body to body, he has to keep an eye on news feeds for bizarre murders and deaths that look like animal attacks. This leaves him with maybe one good night to catch up to the monster and put a silver bullet between its eyes.
Artist Jeremy Haun's design for the werewolf is rather traditional in nature. It looks like a hairy man, standing on two feet with a large wolf's head. Although this looks like a creature we've seen before, it is immensely menacing. Lee Loughridge's colors make the werewolf's eyes pop in a glowing red. Just imagine turning down a dark alley and seeing nothing but those glowing red eyes staring out at you from the shadows. That would be the last thing you'd see too.
The kills in Wolf Moon are absolutely brutal. Heads are cut off. Limbs are torn left and right. There is so much blood. This was a book where I let out an audible “OHHHH!!!” every so often because the gore is off the charts. The werewolf doesn't kill for hunger. It does so for sport and it's very good at it.
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The thing is, the werewolf isn't the only one racking up a body count. There's another hunter after its head and he does not care about collateral damage. This gets tense when Dillon and this other hunter are tracking the beast at the same time. This would have been enough to make Wolf Moon a great read, but that's not how writer Cullen Bunn rolls. In addition to all of the above, there's a mystery surrounding a string of murders tied to others possessed by the spirit and some beautifully tragic tales of lives torn apart by the beast. There's one in particular that ties up at the end of the book that will rip your heart out.
Wolf Moon is the best werewolf comic I've read in years. It puts a refreshing spin on the mythos and does so in such an interesting and intriguing way that is rife with possibilities. The artwork takes it up a notch with a downright terrifying monster and kills that are as incredible as they are breathtaking. This is a book that delivers on so many levels, from horror to suspense to drama and more.