Review – Coyotes #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Sean Lewis
Artwork: Caitlin Yarsky
Release Date: 8th November 2017

Coyotes – a brand new series from writer Sean Lewis and artist Caitlin Yarsky – introduces us to “The City of Lost Girls”, and to a group of women who have decided to take a stand and strike back against the violent pack of monsters that are hunting them down.

Lewis provides an exaggerated, fantastical slant on the worrying real-world problem of disappearing girls, blending a slick revenge story with an almost fairy-tale aesthetic and narrative style.  His story is told from the perspective of Analia (or “Red”, as she becomes known), a girl who has already seen more than her fair share of horrors in her young life.  This is never more apparent than during the opening pages of the issue where we first encounter her, standing silently in a room littered with mutilated corpses.

In the beginning, it almost feels as though the titular “coyotes” are metaphorical, representing the predatory nature of the male-dominated environment the girls live it.  And then we get to see them, in all their horrific glory, removing any sense of ambiguity as they continually hunt down Red, her family and the Victorias –  a group of girls who have come from similarly distressing backgrounds and who know full well just what the coyotes are capable of.

Over the course of the issue we get to find out a little more about Red and the events in her life that led her up to that moment, with Lewis fleshing the story out with an impressive supporting cast.  Of these, “The Duchess” proves to be a genuine highlight with her eclectic mixture of Victorian clothing and profanity-laden hip hop slang, while police officer Franky Coffey is likely to provide an essential counterpoint to Red’s own perspective as the story unfolds.

On the visual side of things, Yarksy’s artwork is nothing short of stunning, feeling at times more like a children’s storybook than a conventional comic, particularly during the flashback scenes featuring the Duchess.  Yarsky plays around with page structure throughout the course of the issue, and the key storyline beats are delivered with an impressive flair, with one particular ‘training montage’ page proving to be the unquestioned highlight of the issue (for me, at least).   There are also subtle visual quirks along the way, such as the overly fancy speech bubbles of the Duchess herself, and all of these parts come together to create what is, to put it simply, a gorgeous looking book.

Part Kung Fu movie, part twisted fairy tale, Coyotes is a thoroughly original new series, and while there are definitely a lot of unanswered questions here, the strength of the leads and the striking visual style makes this an easy first issue to recommended.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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