The Astounding Wolf-man (#2) – Comic: Robert Kirkman/Jason Howard

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Robert Kirkman is always a little hit and miss, particularly on projects where he is writing characters he hasn’t created. But on his own projects (and Marvel Zombies), he becomes something of a card-carrying creator of note. So with a project like The Astounding Wolf-man while there is less trepidation than say Ultimate X-men, it is probably a safe bet that it is going to be good, especially if he is given enough time on the book to grow it into something like Invincible or Walking Dead.

The Astounding Wolf-man is about a crime fighting wolf-man, and the trials and tribulations his transformation and responsibilities entail both for him and for his marriage. It starts off a little (or a lot) cutesy and whimsical. Kind of a Batman and Robin type setup, if Batman were a mysterious Vampire and Robin a Wolf-Man. But instead of following Batman, we’re stuck watching a young, overly trustful kid in the Robin-mold trip around the bulk of the pages. Just when you think that is all the book has to offer, the content takes a determined turn for the darker and begins to match its very bloody outer cover art. To say that Kirkman’s got your undivided attention by the final panel would be a massive understatement.

Jason Howard’s art should probably be singled out. It’s tremendous. If Jock’s blocky style did not fit with Mike Carey on Faker, Jason Howard’s style is a perfect fit with this story. It seems to be capable and willing to dance in and out of the shadows, with very naive depictions on one page, and then something far more sinister on the next.

It’s definitely a fun book, but it also hints at some very serious and brilliant story-telling in the near future. The earmarks are definitely here for this to turn into the next Kirkman hit.