Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"It's been difficult to arrange assisted living for the undead." The Werewolf of New York review

Batton Lash recently held another Kickstarter project for his long-running series Supernatural Law, this time for a collection entitled the Werewolf of New York. As before, I happily supported the project. However, whereas the last project was to print the sixth volume in his set of Supernatural Law trades (the Monsters Meet on Court Street), this book is considered a stand-alone graphic novel, running only 100 pages (about 60 pages less than the trades) and telling a single story. Unlike the other trades, there's no celebrity introduction - Lash introduces the material himself.

What really sets the Werewolf of New York apart are the production values - full colour from start to finish! The story itself was first published in full-colour in the webcomic version of Supernatural Law thus the printed copy retains the original presentation's strengths. If you've already read the Werewolf of New York online you don't strictly need the book, but if you follow Supernatural Law online, you'll almost certainly want the book anyway.

The story involves one Leon Reed, a victim of lycanthropy who's retained our favourite Counselors of the Macabre Jeff Byrd & Alanna Wolff to defend him over the damages he caused while in his werewolf form. Leon has entered a special rehabilitation program for werewolves so his life appears to be in order - but there's a werewolf advocacy group lurking about who believe Leon's been brainwashed into denying his true self. Is Leon really happier being a werewolf? Also, there's a senile old vampire wandering around in a b-plot (and occasional family plot).

Wolff & Byrd are actually edged out of the book in this one - it's Leon Reed and the werewolf advocates (People for the Rights, Interests and Concerns of Shapeshifters or "PRICS" as secretary Mavis Munro calls them) who carry the bulk of the volume. Like most of Lash's Supernatural Law books the art, plotting and humour is well-balanced, with some clever wordplay ("I'm concerned that our client's dark cloud has a silver lining") and satire of contemporary culture (in this instance, it sends up "gay rehab" therapy using werewolves). There isn't really an opportunity for Lash to show off his talents as an artist-mimick, unfortunately (although there are some creatures who appear to be inspired by Gorillaz).

Lash is already making plans for yet another Kickstarter project to keep Supernatural Law in the public eye. I'll certainly be there to keep supporting it!

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