Advance Review: Autumnlands – Tooth & Claw #3

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Tooth & Claw 3 cover

Publisher:  Image Comics
Story: Kurt Busiek
Illustration: Benjamin Dewey
Colours: Jordie Bellaire

“Confirmation bias” refers to interpreting new information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or opinions.  For example, upon receipt of Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #3, the reviewer assumed it would be terrible because the prior two issues were both among the worst comic books that he had read in 30 years.  While it is possible that this is the result of confirmation bias, it appears more likely that Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw continues to be the type of comic book envisioned by people who poke fun at people who read comic books.  Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #3 is the third installment of a hopefully limited series, so this pointless and dull tale can come to a merciful end.

In the earlier issues, readers were introduced to a fantasy world populated by talking animals, some of whom practiced magic.  A group of these creatures conducted a summoning ritual in hopes to bring a “Grand Champion” to their realm to solve the problem of diminishing stores of magical resources.  Lady Gharta the Seeker (a warthog) lead this effort and brought back a human.

The “Grand Champion” (though his status is subject to debate among the animal kingdom) finally made it out of the a glowing orb (called “the Unremitting Pearl”) in the last issue and engaged in an obligatory fight scene against a herd of bison warriors.  He proved pretty good at beating down talking animals.  According to a legend circulated among the animals, the Grand Champion supposedly originally “loosed magic into the world” though he has not demonstrated any magical acumen thus far.

Autumnlands selection 1

Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #3 begins with the Grand Champion revealing that is name is Steven Learoyd, and he is a Master Sergeant in the Coalition Forces.  He presumably is from a future “real” Earth, though that has not yet been made clear, and is hair is far longer than that permitted in the military.  This issue also introduces readers to Goodfoot the Trader, the fox pictured on the cover.  Goodfoot joins in the effort to salvage food and other necessities in the wake of damage caused by the summoning ritual.

It is difficult to fathom that Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #3 is really authored by Kurt Busiek (Marvels, Astro City).  Busiek’s prior personality driven stories are not present here.  Thus far, there is not a single character of interest in this series.  While helping to prepare the animals for battle, Learoyd commented that perhaps this is all a dream, “[b]ut if so, it doesn’t have to be completely damn stupid, does it[?]”  Unfortunately, it seems that it does.