Review: The Wolfmen & Fall of the Wolfmen / Written by: Dave West / Illustrated by: Andy Bloor / Published by: Accent UK / Release Date: Out Now
Career criminal Grey thinks of himself as a big fish in a small pond. His chance to prove himself manifests in the form of an invitation from criminal gang The Wolfmen, a group of terrifying and ruthless individuals known for their daring heists. This hard boiled noir quickly plunges into horror territory to amp up the body-count and take the crime caper into original territory that ends badly for all concerned.
Are Accent UK the most underrated British comics publisher? The jury is still out on that one, but Accent UK just might be offering better value for money than all of their competition. There’s enough content in the £3 first volume of The Wolfmen that if it were prose I’d call it a novella, at a price comparable to what you’d pay for last week’s useless Batman spin-off. Narratively Dave West has a strong hook for the story and he maintains a consistent voice throughout, never quite reaching Parker-like levels of meanness but creating a compelling cast of characters nonetheless. Andy Bloor’s art is endlessly fascinating because he’s been talking online recently about a crisis of confidence in his ability, but proportions are literally the only thing that ever let the panels down. The stark, chiaroscuro palette forces discipline on his artwork and Bloor relishes the task, creating bold, powerful characters that live in wonderful twilight worlds. Each brick and grain of wood is tangible and real, each face expressive and alive, with some inspired compositions and a real sense that on each page we see every important aspect of the world, that nothing is left out and that everything is deliberate.
Fall is the second part of the Wolfmen trilogy and as such it raises the stakes, expands the cast and ends on a note of dreary inevitability. The growth of the team in terms of artwork and plotting was so notable between the first and second books that now I can’t wait to read Last of the Wolfmen and I will definitely be watching out for future collaborations between West and Bloor. The Wolfmen and Fall of the Wolfmen represent the best of British horror-noir, populated by a cast of sad, misanthropic characters acting against a gangland backdrop of fierce violence where the difference between men and monsters is superficial at best. Be ready for The Fall of the Wolfmen and everything that follows it.