Wolves of Summer Kickstarter: Jump On!

Project_Update__4__WOLVES_OF_SUMMER__The_Complete_Collection_by_Tony_Keaton_—_InboxA late heads-up that the creative team behind the mini-series Wolves of Summer (our reviews are here and here) have a Kickstarter finishing very soon. It’s already reached it’s funding goal, which is great.

If you read our reviews you’ll know we’re fans, but the reason we’re promoting the Kickstarter is that the prices and rewards are some of the better ones I’ve seen.

I’ve thrown in my dosh happily – have a look for yourself in the next 24 hours and decide if you want to too.


Review: Wolves of Summer #2 – Tony Keaton & Andrew Herbst

wolvesofsummer2Wolves of Summer is quickly becoming something I look forward to (that makes two of us – Ed). The two months between issues seems like a long time, but after the second issue, it’s going to feel a lot longer. “Knives” keeps the momentum going, as Johnny tries to turn a young group away from a life of violence, and in the past, the Wolves find themselves dealing with their own demons.

(Issue 1 Review)

Hans’ demons in particular are a stand-out. Waking up Johnny in the middle of the night, and telling him to kill the weakest child in the group is particularly chilling. Spending the rest of the issue on edge was effective, and really hits home a Lord of the Flies parallel, only for it to end in a way I didn’t expect. It only deepens the relationship between Johnny and Hans which is interesting, and I hope to see it pan out more.

Another child plagued by demons, this time in a more literal sense, is Hartschen. His failing sanity, as he is visited by monsters is also interesting. Even when the monsters aren’t around, it’s clear that something is up, as Hartschen attempts to wind-up other kids without provocation. Not only does it question what is going through his mind, but it is also a very childlike thing to do, as when the boredom sets in, anything will do for fun.

The future storyline is the weaker part of the issue this month, as it mostly focuses on action as Johnny tries to turn the children on the train away from attacking again. While it did subvert my original theory that Johnny was trying to die, the execution mainly consists of a well drawn action sequence. It is book-ended with two very powerful moments, but the parts in-between feel like filler, and also makes for a confusing question. If Johnny really wanted these kids to go home to their family, would he have really fought back the way did? I hope the way he handled the situation is explained further in future issues.

As mentioned before, Herbst again shows off his artistic chops. The strong visual storytelling returns, as does his fantastic panel design. The monsters in the forest are also effective, as his art style lends to their horror effectively. His unique style is a treat to read, and the action scene has a strong sense of motion and momentum. I can’t wait to see where he gets to go next.

In fact I can’t wait to see the rest of this series goes. While I may have already used that praise in my first review, it can’t be said enough. Tony Keaton and Andrew Herbst have struck gold with Wolves of Summer #2and it has quickly become one of my most anticipated series. The next issue can’t come soon enough. You can buy it here.

Review: Wolves of Summer #1 – Tony Keaton & Andrew Herbst

Wolves of Summer #1When I was a kid I always imagined being a soldier. Many times I’d live out exciting Star Wars fantasies as I fought in my own imaginary battles in a galaxy far, far away. Now being older and wiser I know that war isn’t being a hero and getting the girl – it’s a much more dark and dangerous event.

But what if you were a child, what if you did get thrown into a war that you did not fully understand? Wolves of Summer, a new mini series courtesy of Tony Keaton and Andrew Herbst, deals with this idea of children and war, It follows John, the sole survivor of his “Werwolf” squadron of Hitler Youth and the first issue sets up a strong introduction, as we begin to find out what really happened that last summer in World War II.

Issue #1 follows John as he tries to live his adult life, haunted by the events that occured during the war. John is depressed, and following a failed attempt at suicide, wants to simply die. The action often flashes back to the events during the war, as the group of boys escapes into the forest following the death of their commanding officer Heinrich Aust. These are children who have little grasp of the events beyond the knowledge that their commander is dead, and Keaton manages to show that.

Aside from a few child-like interactions between the boys that feel somewhat clunky, Keaton has a firm grasp on how little the boys know of what is actually happening, hanging onto the words of the propoganda of their losing side. They treat this escape into the forest as little more than a camping trip, with the boys laughing and joking as they set up camp and traps as the Allied forces move onto their position. It’s effective dialouge, as this naïveté only further heightens the sadness of the impending annihilation of many members of the squad.

Herbst’s art also serves the story excellently. While at times the faces appear to lack detail to truly be expressive, he manages to slip in visual cues that add layers of depth to John’s story. Repeated motifs of wolves and panel layouts give the sense that John has done this all before, drawing parallels between his dark life now, and the life he had in the Hitler Youth. There is also a brilliant page where Josef Goebbels addresses the Werewolf, only to turn into one himself as he belts out propaganda to his men, giving him a more fantastical feel. The boys view Goebbel and the Reich as more than men, playing up the notion that these boys are in above their heads and don’t fully know who or what they are fighting for.

Wolves of Summer #1 is a fantastic first issue for tale of the doomed Werewolf squadron. With its intelligent visual storytelling, and  grasp of child-like naïveté, I cannot wait to see what is going to happen next.

 Score: 8.5/10