Tooth & Claw #1 Review
In an effort to return a once vibrant world teeming with magic to what it was, a gathering of wizards and beings of incredible power attempt to combine their abilities and summon the champion of legend. The original herald of lore who brought about the world’s age of magical enlightenment to begin with will be conjured by a magnificent coalition of strengths and mystical incantations. However now, sifting through the rubble of a decimated sky city brought crashing to the ground, the creatures of Keneil wallow in defeat until the discovery of what could be the key to their future.
We were good and gentle creatures
From Image Comics and the co-creator of Astro City comes Tooth & Claw, an epic fantasy that journeys through a magical landscape with an endless supply of imagination and wonder. In a number one that boasts 48 full pages of dense storytelling, universe building, action and character construction, Tooth & Claw is amongst the best Image number ones in recent memory alongside books like Saga and East of West. There really is just so much incredible content in this first issue, it’s astounding. Each page is lush with the complex design and exploration of a brand new world like pages out of a Kirby series and each panel is chock full of the exciting, collaborative imagination of the book’s creative lineup.
Narrative wise, Tooth & Claw reads like the documentation of a fully developed planet that has been under intense, microscopic examination for centuries and its inhabitants are citizens that have grown up and flourished there in real time. Seamless dialogue and soulful exposition, Kurt Busiek’s scripting is as genuine, organic and passionate as I’ve come to expect from the writer. His prose is beautiful, providing mesmerizing captions like from The Sandman that layer slick texturing to already gorgeously rendered environments. Being an enormous Astro City fan I couldn’t wait for this book and my expectations were at an all time high. Safe to say that here, Busiek delivered and then some.
This is the first work I have had the pleasure of reading from Benjamin Dewey and already he is amongst my favorite comic artists. Characters, settings, action sequences, you name it, are all here in spades in this first issue and alongside the brilliant color work of Jordie Bellaire, Tooth & Claw features some of the best artwork at Image next to Emma Rios’ work on Pretty Deadly. Jumping from all-encompassing shots of floating cities to their intricate inner workings then to the expressive features of hyper evolved animals then rapidly to full page spreads of explosive chaos, Dewey is eclectic and adept at every facet of the book’s visual storytelling.
I am truly excited by this series. With a top tier creative team, endless well of imagination and excitement and one of the best value first issues to be released in years, I think we have a truly masterful fantasy epic to look forward to watching unfold in Tooth & Claw.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
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Listen to his music www.Ghostfactory.bandcamp.com, read his comic series with Shae Frank, www.wildrosecounty.com or follow the Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast www.Geekstampede.com