Singles Going Steady 7/20/2016: Silhouettes and Shadows

This article was originally published at Comics Bulletin on July 25, 2016.

shewolf

She-Wolf #2 (Image Comics)
(W/A) Rich Tommaso

star3

Rich Tommaso has proven himself capable of mastering multiple genres without losing his unique perspective or style. She-Wolf #1 promised a dreamlike horror story devoted to aesthetic pleasure and exploration above all else. This promise is what leads to She-Wolf #2 deflating as it loses focus of what makes itself compelling.

Narrative is pushed to the forefront of this installment, and it is the weakest element of the comic. The plot is riddled with tropes, including a rivalrous relationship between vampires and werewolves and the inclusion of family conspiracies. While these sorts of elements were already present, they were background. Here the explanation of what is occurring is emphasized in long stretches of expository dialogue. While this serves to explain the whys and wherefores of She-Wolf, those aren’t questions that ever needed to be answered. Focusing so much on characters and their relationships reveals these elements of She-Wolf to be hollow, as characters barely summon motives or history. Long stretches of word balloons slow the pacing of She-Wolf #2 considerably and cover the real charm of the book.

That charm is Tomasso’s artwork and ethereal pages. The stranger She-Wolf gets the better it is. Even in sequences where two characters stand in a room or waterpark and talk, there is plenty to enjoy. Tomasso’s soft watercolors are exceedingly pleasant to the eye and encourage readers to soak in each moment. He never wastes an opportunity to add ideas, and backgrounds to exposition still provide plenty to enjoy. Violence is something that Tomasso really excels at. An action sequence between vampire and werewolf is wordless and breathless. There is no holding back and the use of red, spattered inks to indicate blood play beautifully against the soft tones on the page.

The issue is at its absolute best though when things become truly trippy. Stretching forms, non sequitur sequencing and settings, and symbol-laden panels are what will make you think about this comic long after you’ve set it down. These images capture the look and feel of a werewolf story beautifully, and need no explanation; they are a primal thing. It’s simply too bad that there’s so much focus on connecting the dots when She-Wolf is at its best drifting through the stars.

— Chase Magnett

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About chasemagnett

Chase is a mild-mannered finance guy by day and a raving comics fan by night. He has been reading comics for more than half of his life (all 23 years of it). After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with degrees in Economics and English, he has continued to research comics while writing articles and reviews online. His favorite superhero is Superman and he'll accept no other answers. Don't ask about his favorite comic unless you're ready to spend a day discussing dozens of different titles.
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