Werewolves… Werecoyotes…. Werecats… A long ago different shape-shifters lived in various packs. That all changed when an unknown force started to wipe them all out. Only the keeper of balance can save them.
This pretty much sounds like the summary of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I have a lot to say about this Matthew Basile’s Wolf’s Howl, especially considering I used a T.V show’s theme song to describe it.
Decent Chosen One, Same Old Plot
The story behind Wolf’s Howl is about a human woman named Vicky Durant, who apparently has the ability to save the world. The main problem? A group of shapeshifters is trying to find her. She also is unaware of her role as the “keeper of balance”, so the shapeshifters must travel into society to find the woman that can save their world.
The comic is decent enough and the art places its emphasis on the characters rather than the background. Each panel is stunning to look at with its detailed drawings of different characters. The action scenes are intricate and detailed, with slow-motion effects that emphasize the quick movements that the shapeshifters can make. Plus, the characters are merciless when it comes to fighting.
My main problem here, however, is with the transition between one panel to the next. I find them very awkward to look at and I wish that the Sergio Drumond took a little more time to think about how each transition could have been crafted.
Where’s The Logic?
The logic in this story is also quite confusing, to say the least. I usually don’t have a problem with how a story is constructed, but this is one story I need to question everything about.
For example: how have shape-shifters been able to hide in abandoned subways? How can there be different types of shapeshifters if some of them are siblings? How is someone declared an Alpha when they barely have a pack of their own? How can people shift in public without getting into trouble?
Again, so many questions that I don’t have the answers to. I understand that fantasy stories use a lot of “magic”. But magic has some logic to it as well. I understand this is an introduction into the world of Wolf’s Howl and its shape-shifters, but answers need to be given from the start itself.
I believe Wolf’s Howl has a lot of potential, but the plot should have moved at a faster pace instead of building a giant load of expectations. Without spoiling the comic, I wish Matthew Basile would allow us to learn more about the universe over time. It contradicts my last paragraph, but the information that was provided within the first half wasn’t what I needed. All this issue focused on was finding Vicky.
Too Nice, Too Soon
What can I say about the characters? They’re too nice for their own good. This is a nice turn to other shape-shifter stories, as those in Wolf’s Howl don’t rely on their instincts when approaching other packs. Unfortunately, the shapeshifters retain a pack mentality and even hold an “alpha-beta” complex when it comes to interactions.
This lays a good structure for a team, but I wonder how far it can be abused in the rest of the story. Hopefully, instinct and discipline don’t overwhelm one another, especially when the shifters interact with humans.
In the end, Wolf’s Howl is not bad at all. There are new spins to cliched ideas and there is a stark contrast to the human and animal sides among shapeshifters. The pack relations are nice to look at, but I would try to make the characters more human over time. I just hope these problems are addressed in the next issues.
I should also mention that the authors recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, presumably to raise more funds for their upcoming work. If you want to check out the comic for yourself, you can click here to visit Wolf’s Howl’s official crowdfunding page.