The Wolfmen & Fall Of The Wolfmen
Written by Dave West
Art by Andy Bloor
£3.00 ( The Wolfmen ) • £3.95 ( Fall Of The Wolfmen )
Jack Grey is a criminal on the up, a man completely at home with violence and wanting nothing more than to make a name for himself. The Wolfmen is a legendary London gang whose brutality is matched only by its professionalism. The Wolfmen want Jack, and Jack wants in, but glory always comes at a price, even in the underworld…
Dave West’s story is as lean and focussed as its lead character. Broken into two acts, one in each book, it pointedly steps behind the façade of the gangland hard man to show Jack for what he is; someone too shallow to realise how shallow they are, a man so devoted to making a “name” for himself that everything else has fallen away.
Jack’s a weapon, or rather has convinced himself he’s one, and it’s only once he’s met the Wolfmen that he realises just how wrong he is. As the first volume continues we see Jack join the Wolfmen, work a job with them and discover the truth, as well as what it will cost him. It’s a brutally simple gangland story and its made all the more effective by Andy Bloor’s astounding, black and white artwork. Characters seem chiselled from the world around them, each one tight and focussed and prepared for violence whilst the constant play of shadow and white light makes for striking, nourish visuals.
This is particularly true of the second book, Fall Of The Wolfmen , where Jack finds himself aided by the Ghosts, a rival gang. Despite being described as wearing white suits, the Ghosts are barely brighter than the Wolfmen, shards of night with pistols instead of teeth that are just as ruthless and, in the end, just as doomed. There’s always another predator, always someone younger and faster and crueller wanting your spot and as book two closes, it becomes clear that Jack may not be as done with the business as he’s previously thought.
The second book also does a good job of fleshing out Jen, Jack’s embittered girlfriend and Detective Knight, a solid, methodical police offer assigned to Jack’s case. Knight is a great addition; a crumpled Colombo-esque figure who provides the closest thing the books gets to a hero. Like everyone else he’s very much a pulp archetype, good cop in a bad city, but that’s a strength in a book where the hero is a murderous criminal with distinctly lycanthrophic tendencies.
Wolfmen and its sequel are polished, nasty, fun pieces of horror noir . There’s a complete story here but the door is also left open for more and volume three would certainly be welcome. After all, down these mean streets a lonely wolf man must walk and all that…
• The Wolfmen and Fall Of The Wolfmen have entered the digital age and are now available on the iPad through the Lush Comics app.