Co-Created & Written: Kelly Bender
Co-Created, Illustrations & Inks: Nathan Kelly
Colors: Josh Jensen
Letters: Micah Myers
Snarl, a one shot comic by writer Kelly Bender and Nathan Kelly is a refreshing look into the werewolf genre told in the detective story style.
I am not entirely sold on the artwork by Kelly in this. Please don’t think that means the art is not good – it is, dramatic with dark shadows, full colour, interesting angles and layout. It just isn’t my particular flavour of ice cream and I can’t quite pinpoint why. I can appreciate it is captivating and interesting, I think it is just personal preference that I don’t ‘love’ it… and then in the next page I am changing my mind and thinking that this artist is pretty awesome. It is like getting pistachio ice cream when you expected mint… then realising you quite like pistachio. Jensen makes good use of his colour pallet and Myers’ Lettering is well placed.
From the outset, Snarl promises to be an interesting take on the werewolf genre, however it turns it on its head – this is a police investigation with subtlety. There is no raging monster, no rending of flesh at first. Keeping you guessing and following the investigations into the ‘animal’ attacks, it is full of suspense and twists.
The investigators are trying to find an alternative and realistic solution to the cause of the murders instead of believing the sightings and witness accounts that all point to werewolves. They have tried almost every avenue and have their superiors breathing down their necks for answers.
The ending in particular is satisfying and I shan’t give any spoilers but it was quite unexpected for me, leaving a brutal story on a happier note. As a whole it is well told and of the high quality I have come to expect from Bender’s works. He pulls on Native American lore and uses the tensions related there to subtle good use.
The humour and interaction between characters is well played, the story layout is crafted together masterfully leaving us guessing and questioning the possible reality of werewolves along with the detectives. Bender has that ability to not only deliver a good story, but with strong narrative and dialogue that flows naturally.
Kellys’ art complements throughout and his stark shadows set the atmosphere well in a story that does not quickly jump into the action. By the time the gore and action begins, it is introduced alongside the investigation, think like 24 where the events are occurring simultaneously but separately. Kelly lays this out very well and without confusion despite panels jumping from one scene to the next. At times the whole panel is upside down reminding me of a less disturbing version of Irreversible, the swirling camera shots serving to dizzy and confuse you as the story unfolds. One thing I would say I noticed… though his shadows are superb on the faces, he often does not extend the same loving attention to the inking of the hands. I think they might be the pistachio to my mint choc chip!
All in all this is a one shot worth owning, I love the main character and would be keen to see him put up against investigating other potentially supernatural crimes, though this story feels fully resolved.
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