Monday, October 26, 2009

Rayboy's Review: The Astounding Wolf-Man #19 (Image Comics)

The Astounding Wolf-Man #19 from image Comics is written by the prolific Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible, Space Ace, Marvel Zombies, Image United, etc.) and illustrated by Jason Howard. I must admit that although I've been aware of this book for sometime, I had never purchased an issue until this one. Based upon what I found inside its covers, that has been my loss.

This book is terrific, and that is said somewhat sadly because on the letters page of this very issue it is revealed that the book will end with issue #25. Apparently sales aren't down sufficiently to warrant cancellation, it's just that the very in-demand Mr. Kirkman wishes to move on to other projects and he has written Astounding Wolf-Man with the intention of concluding it at that point. Well, at least I can track down eighteen back issues to enjoy.

This month, Wolf-Man is teamed up with a cadre of super-powered individuals (who may be villains, but I'm too new here to know better) in order to face off against a gargantuan threat called Gorgg (who rises out of the Earth, with what appears to be Stonehenge atop his head). It seems that the dual-featured head honcho known as The Face was in communion with the entity while incarcerated, but now he expects to control the creatures power upon its revival. Oops, that doesn't work out quite as well as The Face had anticipated. Characters called the Construct and the Eruptor get in a few licks but then quickly flee the scene, when Gorgg swallows the Face. Only Mecha-Maid stays the course to assist Wolf-Man in his transcontinental battle with Gorgg. With Mecha-Maid serving as a convenient jet-pack, Wolf-Man trails the massive beast to New York City, where the creature seeks revenge upon the ancestors of the folks who had originally entombed him.

Kirkman and Howard have produced a really fun story here that is full of thrills, chills, action and humor. This thing also actually looks like a comic book ought to look, the pages are dynamically layed out (and done so using old-school-style gutters) and Howard's draftsmanship is visually engaging enough to pull even a newbie like me into the middle of a story. The vibrant artwork is abetted by some cool color work from FCO & Ivan Plascencia. Heck, let me even give a nice heads up to Rus Wooten's lettering.

The Astounding Wolf-Man #19 was one of the nicest surprises that I've gotten at the comics shop in quite awhile, and I will definitely be onboard for the remainder of the ride. Now I've also got to hit those pesky back issue bins and track down some copies of the earlier issues too.

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