- Script – Kurt Busiek
- Art – Benjamin Dewey
- Colors – Jordie Bellaire
- Letters – John Roshell, Jimmy Betancourt
- Publisher – Image Comics
In the first Tooth and Claw, we are introduced to a world of anthropomorphic wizards and flying cities. Magic’s power, as we learn, is starting to wane and warthog Gharta believes that the only way to fix the future is to pull from the past. With the help of her fellow wizards, Gharta summons the legendary Champion, the being that Gharta believes can have them all from arcane destruction. Unfortunately, their spell to transport the Champion into the present has unforeseen consequences and their power creates a catastrophe all its oen. Fallen to the earth below and surrounded by the ruins of a broken city, we come into issue two with a tale being told about the legendary hero who, at present, sits unseen in a ball of glowing green magic.
Things get a lot bloodier in this issue than the last one. The wizards who remain are attacked by Lowlanders who see their plight as an ample opportunity for revenge. They attack without mercy and if it weren’t for a last minute saviour, each and every magic-user would have been slaughtered without a second thought. The story ends with Gharta taking leadership of those left standing as she informs the city-born mages that there are more dangers in the wild than those who attacked them. It is a slight cliff hanger like the first issue, but it is enough to keep your interest peaked until next month.
This story seems to be ramping up slowly and moving the reader along at a nice, controlled pace. Kurt Busiek could have jumped us ahead in the timeline and given us a flashback to events that transpired after the city fell or bring us right in on the middle of the Lowlander attack, but he chose to use the aftermath of the first issue to world build via a firelight tale this time around. We are even treated to more character development between Gharta and the loudmouthed owl Sandhorst who is not at all pleased about what has transpired in regards to the Champion. I would have liked to see more with Dunstan’s character-the young dog from issue one-but I can understand why he and his grief were not the focal point quite yet. Hopefully we get more of him and his owl companion later on.
Benjamin Dewey’s art continues to amaze and everything gets a little gory this time around. While it’s not incredibly graphic, the illustrations surrounding combat clearly mark Tooth and Claw as the mature book it is. Heads are bashed in, arrows are lodged in necks, and one mighty warrior is shown completely nude, front and back. Nothing is gratuitous, however, and there are no lingering shots to make the reader feel uncomfortable. You are given all the fighting necessary for this point in the story and it only helps to nail home that while these people may be powerful wizards, they are far from all powerful.
Issue two of Tooth and Claw built upon the tragedy in issue one, showcasing the skill and power available to the sorcerers that brought about their city’s destruction, but quickly reminds the audience that there are those who hate them and they are quite capable of slaughtering mages with ease. We gain an answer to last issue’s cliff hanger, yet walk away with more questions regarding the Champion and what their role in the story will ultimately be. There was great action, subtle plot building, and it was gorgeous to look at the whole way through. This series is definitely sinking its claws in deep.