(Image Comics, 2014)
Writer – Kurt Busier
Artist – Benjamin Dewey
Color Art – Jordie Bellaire
Lettering and Design – John Roshell and Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Let’s get this out of the way first. This is still the same book. This is not a variant, this is not a spin-off, this is number 2 of Tooth and Claw, the next issue in the series that debuted last month. The problem, so the press release stated, was that they messed up the trademark search. So, easy fix, we’ve a new title. The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw #2 dropped this week.
The citizens of a fallen city sit around a small fire and hope for the coming of a legendary hero. Their city has crashed due to their magical fidgeting. Now they are camped in the ruins and fighting amongst themselves, arguing about who their savior will be. And then the Bison Tribes arrive and begin the wholesale slaughter of the “intelligent” ones.
Kurt Busiek (Astro City) wipes the egg off of Image’s face over the naming snafu with another great issue of his newest comic. The Autumnlands is in the same vein as the epic rabbit adventure tale Watership Down by Richard Adams. It is full of supremely advanced, anthropomorphic animals that, in this case, have surpassing knowledge of all this magical and technological. To me, this book seems like a re-inventing of the fantasy element that has been lacking in mainstream books for a long time. It’s one of a number of books from the last year or two that take animals as their main characters, and in a serious tone as well. Busiek makes you care for the animals in this book, especially Duncan, the pit bull/man at the center of the story. He’s young, has just lost his father, and is on the cusp of finding out hat the people who have run his life and the lives of everyone he knows may perhaps not know as much as they let on.
Benjamin Dewey is delving into familiar territory with this book. His previous work included both a book called I Was the Cat and Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword and if you were to meld those two titles you would almost certainly end up with something similar to The Autumnlands.
Why do I like this book? It’s a combination of things. The book is presented as a story with it’s own history as well. There are legends among the “sky people” and those legends are illustrated in the beginning as well, of the chosen one and his prowess in battle, his ferocity, those stories echo the same kinds of tales that we tell ourselves.
Ever been a fan of Conan the Barbarian? Lord of the Rings? The Wind in the Willows? The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw #2 encompasses the feel of all of those stories, and Kurt Busiek adds in an epic feel all his own. It’s the kind of world building that made Astro City so great, and with the talented Benjamin Dewey on pencils and the always-talented Jordie Bellaire coloring, you’re in for a beautiful book wrapped in an engaging story.
Reviewed by Brad Gischia
Name: Brad Gischia
Twitter Account: @comicwasteland
City: Ishpeming, MI
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.