- Writer: Jim Alexander
- Artist: Will Pickering
- Letters: Jim Campbell
- Cover Art: Luke Cooper
- Publisher: Planet Jimbot
- Release Date: March 5th, 2016
Wolf Country is a horror story with a war twist, focusing on the fight between a settlement of vampires and one of werewolves. This issue focuses mostly on those on the vampire side of the conflict. The story here seems to suggest that they’re the right side of the conflict, but some narrative doubts are thrown in. It makes for a somewhat confusing reading experience as you leave yourself questioning just which side you’re rooting for. Or if they should all actually be trying to achieve some sort of peace. Put in other words, it’s a pretty intriguing comic as are any comics that manage to make you think about war as a concept with a kick ass supernatural element to boot.
The narrative thread of Wolf Country #5 is a journey into the politics of the vampire camp. Initially we get to know about some torture (always a fun plot point) than Alexander briskly moves us onto an odd dream sequence. This is a decent move as it keeps in mind the strong gothic tradition of trippy dreams. Not to mention the fact having a main vampire character (Natasha) dreaming a mystical conversation with another vampire (Luke) who’s decided to join the wolves in the Wolf Country is bold. This is as he manages to cast some serious doubt on Natasha as she’s left wondering if fighting against the werewolves is actually the right move to make. This point is made even more clearly when Alexander flips the narrative to Wolf Country. Showing Luke and his werewolf lover as under siege but ultimately happy, even if she will soon transform like many of the other werewolves and become an uncontrollable predator. The whole thread of the story is crafted incredibly well, with this issue moving towards Natasha confronting the leader of some of the brutal soldiers (a huge part of the problem) and being met with a whole different kind of monster. One who looks pissed off enough to kill many of the wolves all on his own. So, Alexander definitely gets some major story points. He delivers an absorbing issue (even for a first time reader), while keeping things exciting and well paced. In fact, the only instance that comes off as dry is the moment between Natasha and the washer women. Which although dull is still a tipping point of the comic.
The work of Pickering is reasonable for the title. His work on the dream sequence particularly shines out, Natasha turning to a fiery pile of ash and then reforming is a very good artistic moment, not to mention the fact it’s super bad ass. The moment where the police come into the comic with one of the vampires is also interesting, we get some gore here, and Pickering clearly knows how to deliver some gothic gore. Much like the writing there is in fact very little to complain about. One issue would be at times Pickering can be seen to of rushed some of the work, for instance when Luke comes in he sometimes looks very crudely done. The real issue when it comes to the art is more out of Pickering’s control. Some of the work could really benefit from the use of a colourist, however as an indie comic getting a colourist isn’t as easy for this comic as it would be for a big publisher. So it’s an issue that can and should be allowed to slide.
In the end Wolf Country is a comic that is far more nuanced than the name leads you to believe. The issues are mostly due to the fact that they have less of a budget than they truly deserve, but the comic quality remains good. As long as the series continues in this vein it’s one worth reading for any comic fan with a love of the supernatural.