While the first issue of Planet Jimbot’s Wolf Country served as an intimate, personal character study, the second issue expands on the scope of the story exponentially, giving us a far better understanding of the world our characters are inhabiting, and bringing the true brilliance of Alexander’s latest creation sharply into focus.
What we essentially have here, at first glance, is a Vampire Werewolf Western. Which I’m sure you’ll agree is a compelling enough prospect in its own right, even before we start delving a little deeper into how the world is structured.
The main focus of the story is on a small vampire settlement nestled dangerously in the heart of “wolf country”. Living a simple, basic life, the inhabitants of the camp believe the ground to be sacred, and are there under strict adherence to the ‘scrolls’ that lay down the doctrine for their religion. So there is very much a ‘frontiersman’ vibe going on, both in terms of clothing and transportation (horse-drawn buggies), not to mention the ever present threat of the different tribes of (were)wolves surrounding them at all times.
Taken in isolation, this would be an extremely interesting premise, and one that could easily carry the weight of a title on its own. However, Alexander isn’t satisfied with leaving it there, and instead expands the world yet further to show the main population of Vampires living a technologically advanced and – by all accounts – regular life, complete with thinly-veiled disdain for this bizarre religious ‘cult’.
It’s a brilliant addition to the story, and the level of detail poured into every facet of this fully-realised civilisation is truly engrossing. Alexander’s vision is brought to life here by the artwork of long-time collaborator Will Pickering, whose fluid, detailed style comes into play beautifully when showing the contrast between the “simple” religious Vampires at the more”civilised” ones. His facial expressions are terrific too, and really hammer home the emotions being conveyed by the characters.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into spoiler territory, but in this issue, Alexander brings a multitude of different plot threads into play. From the disappearance of the “boy who killed wolf” (a moniker I absolutely love, and can’t help but smile every time I read) at the end of issue one, to the status of the settlement given the arrival of their latest “guests”, to Halfpenny (the leader of the Vampire order) and his true agenda in the City. There’s a lot going on here, and while everything so far merely raises more questions, the urge to dig deeper and deeper into this world is a difficult one to ignore.
While issue one of this series had its merits, it now seems more and more like a prologue than a first chapter. The real story undoubtedly starts here, and Alexander’s terrific world building, combined with his always measured and beautifully-chosen dialogue and – of course – Pickering’s distinctive visual style, bodes extremely well for the future of this series.
Consider me on board for whatever might come next.
If you’re looking to get your hands on Wolf Country #1 or 2, send a message to email@example.com for more details.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says