"She Wolf #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written and illustrated by Rich Tommaso
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 22nd, 2016
Gabrielle is just returning to high school after seeing her friend Brian White shot down by police. She seems to be the only one in town who knew that Brian was a werewolf and he couldn't control his actions. Before he died, he scratched Gabrielle's face and now she's suffering from lycanthropy too. As if high school wasn't bad enough, right? Well, it can get worse. The thing is, Gabrielle might just be seeing things. What if Brian wasn't a werewolf after all? What if she's just crazy?
That's the hook for She Wolf and it's one that pulls you in right away. Writer / artist Rich Tommaso will have you questioning what is real and what's just in Gabrielle's head. Her world is a mix of horrific visions of wolf creatures and normal everyday affairs like going to the beach. The madness starts to seep into the regular experiences though. For example, while speaking to the school principal, she sees a dark version of him saying brutal things to her. Could this be a sixth sense picking up on what this guy is actually thinking? Or is it some form of mental illness?
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That guessing goes through the whole issue. It's something that will have you re-reading the book to look for clues. I'm fascinated by this, as Gabrielle hallucinating this whole affair puts a terrifying spin on the story, especially since there is some evidence that she's telling the truth. If she's just ruled out as a lunatic right off the bat, what happens if she was really bitten by a werewolf? It changes everything. This is aided by panels that flip between Gabrielle as a normal human and one with a wolf face.
Tommaso's artwork is not your traditional horror style. That's fitting, as She Wolf is certainly not a traditional horror comic. The colors are bright, with a lot of pastels. Characters are not cartoony, but not drawn with a ton of detail. It's tough to explain. It's basically unlike anything else you'll see on the stands, and that's a good thing. The artwork is unique and stands out. It takes some getting used to, but it pulls you in.
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The design for the werewolves is right up there with legendary depictions of these beasts. They're swift and agile, slinking low to the ground as if they're ready to pounce at any moment. I can't tell which is deadlier: The long claws or the razor sharp teeth. The werewolves are more animal than man and somehow that makes them even more unnatural, like a dog standing on its hind legs and trying to act like a person. Oh, I just figured out the best way to describe them: A demonic version of Falcor from The Neverending Story.
I never really comment on things like this, but I love the logo for She Wolf. It's simple and elegant and literally dripping with blood. This is a logo that jumps out on the stands.
She Wolf is a fever dream of a werewolf story where the real monster may be the main character's mind. Gabrielle is in a living nightmare, unable to distinguish between horror and reality. When you can't trust your own brain, that's scarier than any creature that could jump out and eat you up.
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