Monday, 25 January 2016

Review: The Wolf Among Us, Vol. 1 by Matthew Sturges et al.

The Wolf Among Us is a bit of a surprise find for me, as I was first interested in a PC game of the same title and considered purchasing it before I saw that there was also a graphic novel available of the same story. I did not try to find out much more about the comic before I laid my hands on it. Imagine my surprise when I realised that the werewolf in the lead is actually the Big Bad Wolf - called Bigby Wolf here - who attempted to eat the Little Red Riding Hood and that he's secretly in love with Snow White with whom he is solving a murder mystery...

I soon learned that the entire story is part of a so-called Fable universe and that the game I had seen was based on that - and the graphic novel, in turn, was based on the game and formed a sort of a prequel to the universe. And, in this universe, the many characters from fairy tales and folklore of all kinds have been forced out of their own realms and now live in a community called Fabletown in the very middle of the New York City.

From reading the first volume of The Wolf Among Us storyline, I gather that the storybook characters have been keeping their existence a secret and that Bigby Wolf is somewhat responsible for policing their conduct and for sending those creatures that cannot cope with their new surroundings onto a secret upstate "farm" where they are kept away from humanity. That's my impression, anyway, as the graphic novel seems to assume that the reader has prior knowledge of the universe and therefore doesn't explicitly explain the basics.

The murder mystery is told in noir style and is not lacking in dark overtones and human (or fairy tale character) miseries - princesses are whoring themselves to get by, the Huntsman who saved the Little Red Riding Hood turns out to have had ulterior motives and Bigby Wolf himself has a history of having murdered quite a few people back when he was still a wolf. The solving of the murder mystery - that seems to lead to serial murders - introduces us to several familiar characters, such as the Bluebeard, who bring about their own shade of darkness into the story and this is perhaps the story's main attraction to a new reader.

Overall, I quite liked the story, but it was not one that I absolutely need to continue reading beyond the first volume in order to find out the identity of the murderer or to read more about the characters. That may be partly because I'm not such a fan of murder mysteries to begin with, but also because the story doesn't really delve into the werewolfiness of Bigby Wolf that much - he's just one of the many quirky fairy tale characters that inhabit the pages of this story.