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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wolf Country 7. Jim Alexander (Writer), Will Pickering (Art), Jim Campbell (Letters). Planet Jimbot (2017)

There is a sense of tectonic story plates shifting in this issue of the gripping and hugely entertaining story. Halfpenny, the driven leader of the vampire settlement in the Wolf country has been recalled to the Kingdom, the vampire city. The ambiguities of living in the Kingdom have grated on Halfpenny, while a swirl of politics surrounds him. Finally he manage a direct confrontation with a werewolf, the results are not as conclusive as Halfpenny hoped as the jaws of a trap finally close around him. Halfpenny is a sharp blade, this issue starts to reveal the hand that hopes to direct that cutting edge.
Jim Alexander has given the story an interesting structure, there is a brutal fight which has an unexpected consequence, Halfpenny drifts close to a vision of hell that is really his heaven before being recovered to the fantastically more dangerous reality. Halfpenny has been expertly played, it remains to be seen if those who hope to grasp the blade can hold it safely or not.
Will Pickering's art is more that equal to the varying demand of the story. The fight with the werewolf is punishing physical , the close up bring it home, the quiet aftermath leads into the vision of hell or heaven as Half penny makes a stand that aligns him with the vampire god. Swing back to the Kingdom and the brutal calculations of political power the action lies in the contained body language and savage words of the cast. The brutal assessment of Halfpenny the asset by those who intent to exploit the asset have an impact equal to the physical fight with the werewolf.
Wolf Country shows with extraordinary confidence and thoughtful detail the layers that exist in every struggle for power. What has been increasingly fascinating as Wolf Country has developed and extended is just how seriously the creative team take the story and their readers. Moving from a brilliant premise the story has moved deeper and deeper into the structures and plans that entwine the apparently straightforward struggle. The story possibilities become increased as the weight of the actions of the cast become increasing meaningful and dangerous.
The crucible of religious motivation and power politics never produces unmixed or happy results, the scale that Wolf Country is steadily building to is enthralling,  the cast are being backed into various corners, when they start to move out of them it is likely to be astonishing.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent by Jim Alexander, to purchase a copy of Wolf Country 7, you should and issues 1-6 as well to see exceptional comic storytelling unfurl, it is available here,

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