Wolf #9 is a gorgeous showcase of violence with a few strange, philosophical pit stops.
The first pages open in the middle of a brawl, continuing directly from Wolf #8. The skills of art team Ricardo Lopez Ortiz (artist) and Lee Loughridge (colorist) are put on full display here, delivering a fantastic issue full of hard-hitting combat highlighted by a dark palette of reds and purples.
It’s all punctuated by a series of hit-or-miss one-liners. I think squid-faced Freddy Cthonic has the best dialogue, while the others are a bit bland when they’re not punching or shooting something. That’s part of my frustration with this series.
On paper, Wolf’s cast of characters has the potential to be really interesting: immortals, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural denizens of a wild, alternate-universe LA. But they don’t really get a chance to develop in issues like Wolf #9. The art makes the panels a joy to look at, but there’s not much there beyond that.
The kinetic panels of the fight scene are broken up by more interesting pages, divided between close-up characters portraits and ominous narration. I like these pages because they shift gears, slow things down from the fight scene, and offer some vague exposition to help readers keep up and get a refresher on what’s happening with the storyline. The last pages of Wolf #9 do offer up an emotional, climactic moment, so if you’re really invested in the story you’ll find a reward at the end.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Ales Kot’s work. I loved Change and Wild Children, and thought they found a good balance between storytelling and philosophy. From what I’ve read in interviews, Kot is deeply introspective, and when he can mix his thoughts about the world and his life experiences with a great story, sparks fly. I thought Zero had a great premise and loved the first few arcs, but later issues moved away from the story and sank way too deep into philosophy for me. Maybe Wolf has the opposite problem: the story has a great hook, but it’s not making me think in the way Kot’s other work has.
If you’ve been digging this series, pick up Wolf #9. It’s real pretty to look at it, you’ll get a really significant story moment, and the short comic in the back matter (by Minhal Balg) is a solid piece of writing. If you’ve been on the fence about Wolf, this issue isn’t really going to push you to keep reading, and it definitely isn’t a good place to jump in.
- Great art
- Close-up pages to break up the pacing, with great creepy narration
- A little slow, the issue’s mostly one fight scene
- One liners sometimes hit, but mostly miss