After finishing The
Astounding Wolf-man Volume 1, I must confess that I wasn't very
excited in reading about a werewolf as my passion for graphic novels
and trade paperbacks was generally located in the world of
super heroes, unless it was written by Garth Ennis or Neil Gaiman. However, after finishing
The Astounding Wolf-man volume 1 which collects issue 1 to 7, I was
actually surprised at how decent the story was, thanks to scribe
Robert Kirkman. As opposed to a horror genre, the wolf-man is
actually more superhero than werewolf but it's definitely not your
clichéd tale of good versus evil. Choices are actually quite
consequential in this story, especially for our "hero".
With that said, the protagonist of the series is businessman Gary Hampton, your
average citizen who abides by all the norms and rules of society.
He's actually a good guy, has a wife and a daughter but
unfortunately his life is soon thrown into turmoil when he is
attacked and almost killed by a werewolf attack. Almost on deaths
door, Hampton eventually wakes but he feels good, actually better
than good and it's like he was never attacked by this supernatural
As Hampton moves on with this life, something strange occurs and
just like clockwork, he turns into a crazed werewolf. Hampton soon
realises that he has been cursed from this attack and it's not until
the mysterious Zechariah, a vampire, walks into his life who explains
to him that his curse can actually be a positive experience for
Hampton. Under the guidance of Zechariah, he gives Hampton the
information he needs to control his affliction which allows him at
will to transform into a werewolf that is not dependent on any
cycles of the moon.
Hampton soon comes up with the idea to use his powers for good and
forces his energies into becoming a superhero for the city where he
lives. Although on paper it looks like the perfect career mode for
Hampton, he soon realises that he must juggle the life of superhero,
businessman and father with that of the wolf-man. Needless to say,
the bloody ending of volume is far from his idea of perfection.
In The Astounding
Wolf-man, Kirkman creates an
interesting and even spiritual character in this series with almost a dual personality
that is linked to both the world of the supernatural and that of
superheroes. As opposed to the other comics who have mystical
superheroes, the Wolf-man is actually more Batman than Dr. Strange
which works quite well. Not all the plots are fantastic but for the
majority, Kirkman does a decent job at creating an interesting
superhero with a fair bit of baggage.
To compliment the writing and the character, Jason Howard is the
amazing artist in volume 1 who has a distinct style to his work which actually
looks great. It's smooth pencils and simplicity really jump out of
the page. Even the emotions of the characters come through strong.
Add that with some great backgrounds and action scenes and the Wolf-man
comes together rather well. A special mention should be made for the
colouring as well that is outstanding, albeit a little simple
Given the evidence, The Astounding Wolf-man Volume 1 is a fun book
and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading volume 2. If you're stuck
in a particular comic rut or genre, I do suggest you expand your reading
because there's some great titles out there, just like this. Kudos
to Kirkman and Howard!