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The Astounding Wolf-Man #17 – Review

by Robert Kirkman (writer), Jason Howard (pencils & inks), FCO & Ivan Plascencia (colors), and Rus Wooton (letters)

The Story: Father and daughter make up, father and daughter team up, and father goes undercover.

What’s Good: Yes! I can finally start liking Chloe again! For many issues now, Chloe, has been a poorly written character. She hasn’t sounded her age and almost every line was too painful to hear. I sincerely wanted her to die a painful death.  To me she felt power-hungry, ignorant, and generally nasty, which isn’t good considering that Kirkman was aiming for her to be a sympathy-garnering character lost in emotional pain. Yet, despite all of my Chloe hatred, I couldn’t help but give a little “awww” when she finally spoke to her father this month. While she still isn’t the best written character, she’s not gratingly off this issue.

Meanwhile, Kursk’s broken English is always fun. I loved the dude in Invincible, so it was great seeing him here. What was daring though was Kirkman’s portrayal of him and Thrill Kill as possible rapists. A possible hint of Walking Dead in Wolf-Man? Shocking.

I also enjoyed the depiction of Cecil in this comic, though I’ll admit that Wolf-Man readers may not fully appreciate it if they’re not familiar with the Invincible. This issue again shows a nicer, more human Cecil, a Cecil that Invincible readers have probably forgotten about by now; but through Wolf-Man, Kirkman shows how multi-faceted a character Cecil really is. I also liked that Mecha Maid looks poised to become a major player in the comic; I’ve always thought she was a great character with a lot of potential.

Jason Howard’s art continues to be an enthralling visual treat, as he delivers another faultless issue here.  As is the case over on Invincible, Plascencia’s colouring has taken the art to a whole new level.

What’s Not-So-Good: There’s nothing particularly wrong with Wolf-Man, though I’m still not certain I buy “Chloe, Vampire Girl superhero.” Somehow it just doesn’t feel as substantial as it should.

Perhaps it’s due to how fast and fleeting Chloe and Gary’s reunion was. I suppose that was the point, but given the build-up, it’s still disappointing. Their quick, “barely there” interaction just feels like a missed opportunity that ends up feeling a little vague, and at times cliche. Kirkman finds time to throw in the old “I’m grown up now” line.

The problem is that this was by far the biggest development/moment of the issue and it should’ve been one of the best of the whole series. The rest of the book, while not bad, is really just a case of Kirkman moving the plot along, or moving the pieces across the board in necessary but expected fashion.

Conclusion: Wolf-Man #17 is by no means a bad book, but it could’ve been better. It just does’t feel as important as it should be.

Grade: C+

-Alex Evans


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