It can’t be easy being a werewolf in popular culture. Whereas their blood sucking pointy fanged brethren have invaded movies, television and comics the lycanthrope has languished. Sure they have a couple of notable contributions under there belt: An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, and Wolf (Which is awesome until the last thirty minutes) but those are films. What about comics? If I dig deep I can think of two off the top of my head: Marvel’s Werewolf by Night and Archaia’s recent miniseries Feeding Ground. Now Famous Monsters of Film Land is adding to this furry little corner of comics with their new limited series Luna Order of the Werewolf.
Written by Mark L Miller and Martin Fisher with art by Tim Rees, Luna hangs on a pretty intriguing premise: Years ago werewolves were hunted to near extinction and in order to survive the remaining werewolves traveled to the snow capped mountains of South America to live in a remote monastery. It is here that the Order of the Wolf was born, becoming monks who live a life of seclusion and meditation in peace alongside the rest of the world. That is until an event, by design or coincidence, brings an expedition of mountain climbers to their doorstep. Now the Order experiences the ultimate test of faith: will they stay on a higher path or succumb to their lower instincts?
First and foremost this series is exciting because it’s Famous Monsters first foray into self publishing Comic Books. Despite this there is a degree of pedigree connected with Famous Monsters and the comics world. Famous Monsters founder Forrest J Ackerman co-created Vampirella (as dubious an honor as that might be) and have employed a variety of different artists for their covers. So for those reasons this miniseries is very exciting.
While Miller and Fishers writing starts out strong with the initial premise, where it really shines is with characterization. As characters the werewolves are infinitely compelling. They are men of faith but also creatures of instinct and are constantly at odds with their base desires, which makes for great drama. These are characteristics we really haven’t seen in werewolves in popular culture, they are essentially trying to be good people by locking themselves away but at the same time when temptation knocks they are more than willing to open they’re doors to greet the proverbial sheep to the slaughter. Speaking of sheep, the human protagonists are less interesting but that’s more due to the fact that this first issue doesn’t give them a lot to do other than climb rocks and run around while screaming for help.
There are some problems though, although the art is serviceable it is also incredibly bare bones. For example: despite playing out on top of a mountain, the art would lead you to believe we’re just on a moderately large hill after a small flurry of snow. That’s a pretty minor problem in the grand scheme as the art works where it counts and thats with the monsters.
A bigger problem with the issue is some head scratching internal logic. Now I’m willing to concede the fact that since this is a horror comic characters need to act a certain way to move the plot along, and very often moving the plot along in these types of stories means the characters have to act very, very stupid. Despite that fact there are a few things in this story that I just do not understand and I dont know whether its the fault of the writing, the art or both.
Despite its flaws the premise is strong enough that it makes me want to find out what happens next. If the characters are leading us to where I think they’re taking us, we’re in for something that at the very least will be very different then anything else that’s on the stands. I can’t say that I absolutely loved this issue, but they definitely have me interested for what happens next
[Note: although you may be able to find this at your LCBS you can also buy Luna both physically and digitally at the Famous Monsters website.]
- Unique Premise
- Interesting Characterizations for the Werewolves
- Makes you want to know what happens next
- Bare bones artwork
- Some odd internal logic