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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wolf Country 3. Jim Alexander (Writer), Will Pickering (Art), Jim Campbell (Letters). Planet Jimbot (2015)

After two issues that set up the extraordinary context, in this issue the plot gears begin to engage in both the Kingdom and the Settlement. In the city, Halfpenny, the leader of the vampire settlement in wolf country is drawn into the work of the Department of Purity, asked to speak to vampire who may have something to say to a zealot he would not say to a bureaucrat. The interview does not go well, and a superbly staged assassination suggests that there are strong forces colliding in the kingdom. At the settlement, the full moon heralds an assault, the soldiers from the city head out on a patrol and question the limited effectiveness of the settlement. The promise of the moon comes true.
Once again Jim Alexander has moved the story in multiple ways without tipping his hand as to the actual direction it will go in. Clearly there is a significant change in the city regarding the value and purpose of the settlement, there seems to be lines being drawn between zealots and others who would achieve the same goals by other means. There is a nicely dangling thread that the apparent goal may not be the real end in sight.
Halfpenny's rigidity provides strength in straight fight with a werewolf at the settlement, outside of that context he is not able to read the situation well. His determination to reduce everything to the satisfying black and while of kill or die is leaving him open to management by others. Back at the settlement the intrusion of the soldiers has had an unsettling effect, they do not share the bonds of zeal or survival that the people who live at the settlement do. They upset the balance of the fort and may weaken it dangerously when the assault comes.
Nothing is settled, there is a satisfying sense of story lift off and the possibilities have been thrown open, the wonderful set up is leading somewhere.
Will Pickering's art is spare and clear, the focus is the cast and they emerge with force and determination. There is very little extra detail beyond that required to set the context, the dram is in the cast, their powerful body language and facial expressions. They interact with each other directly and fiercely, the passion that drives them is clear and sharp.
Jim Campbell's lettering is, as usual quietly effective, the sound effects are big and loud, the dialogue is easy to read and feels natural in the panel.
This is a very satisfying comic, the conflict has arrived and it was worth the wait.
Chief Wizard's Note:  This a review copy very kindly sent by Jim Alexander from Planet Jimbot, Vampires v Werewolves in a wild west setting - and a lot more' continues, having been shortlisted for Best British Comic (b/w) at the Eagles/True Believers award; longlisted at the British Comic Awards and voted as a Top 10 book in last year's London Super Comic Con. For more information or to order a copy, which you should do, please contact,  planetjimbot@gmail.com

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