Friday, 9 March 2012

Lone Wolves: Graphic Novel Review

At the Throne of Skulls in January I picked up a copy of the graphic novel, Lone Wolves by Dan Abnett, drawn by Karl Richardson. The main story is 68 pages long featuring a relatively consistent panel lay out of between 3 and 5 art panels per page.

The art is black and white throughout predominantly in close up and for the most part it's is beautiful. There are a couple of panels showing wide shots of a scene which stand out as being comparatively rough and lacking in detail, but they are few and far between and do not detract from the overall quality of the art in this book. The close ups and splash pages are fantastic, really capturing the emotion and action of a scene. There are a few pages at the front and back of the book showing development sketches and giving some background to the Space Wolves but they could have done more here to fill in readers on the IG and the Tyranids both of whom feature more heavily than the Space Wolves.

While the art is detailed and rich, the graphic design is beautifully simple which makes reading easy and there are some neat tricks used to keep you involved in the story while there is narration going on. The typography is not over the top which compliments the relatively simple dialogue, again this helps the flow of the art and makes it easy to read.

The story itself is necessarily basic (given the format) and focusses on an Imperial Guard unit that has been on the sharp end of a Tyranid swarm. They are low on supplies, low on ammo and low on morale as they pick their way through the snowy wastes on foot. The titular “Lone Wolves” do not join the story proper until the last third of the book, a hunting party from Fenris just passing through to hunt some big game. The book also contains a follow on short story but to talk about that would give away the end of the main story.

With regards to characterisation I found the Imperial Guard to be well realised and “believable”, I was not as convinced by the Space Wolves, dare I say they were too bawdy? I'm sure Space Wolf fans would disagree, particularly if the Space Viking thing is what floats your boat. For my taste I felt it was laid on a bit too thick and in the short story at the end it felt like the Wolves were taking orders from the Guard which I'm sure would rankle anyone's sensibilities.

At £15 it's on the expensive side for a trade paperback but I wouldn't say it's bad value, I enjoyed the story and the art is fantastic. If you're a Space Wolf fan it's a must read and if you're a fan of the art of 40K you won't be disappointed either, I think more could have been done to make this appeal to all sci-fi fans with some more background info but perhaps that's just not the intended market.

Has anyone else out there read this, and if so what did you think?

1 comment:

  1. Thought it was good enough and considering when it was first done I think it fitted the more bawdy nature of the wolves that existed at that time.  

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