Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Tooth & Claw #1
Busiek, Dewey, Bellaire & Comicraft
Tooth and Claw is a comic you should pick based solely on the fact that it contains forty-four pages of story for three bucks. There is no reason to pass it up on the off chance that you will be entertained or even fall in love with the book. As far as the contents I found the first issue to be a mixture of good and slow. This isn’t a comic that crashes out of the gates and grabs the reader. Instead, Busiek is building his character cache and plot and then dropping a bombshell at the end. It’s a good start.
This comic book reads a lot like many other fantasy novels, comics or movies. It has that Jim Henson-feel to it as the characters are all animals. Intelligent and refined, the civilization appears to be a utopia of sorts. However, layers exist that begin to bubble up as the issue progresses. Problems are touched on and larger, more looming issues are alluded to and eventually the cast is confronted with utter disaster. I’m being vague because I don’t want to spoil anything in the comic, but also because I’m not entirely clear what I’m spoiling by revealing any small detail.
Busiek had an incredible run on Conan about ten years ago. He relied on a lot of long narrations to set the scene and push his story along. This allowed Conan to act rather than verbalize things. Busiek uses both here and I kind of wish he would have stuck to one or the other. The nature of the story lends itself to the style he used on Conan. Mostly because the art is exceptional, but also because we are dealing with animals in an issue that pushes the story across very quickly. However, when Busiek uses dialogue to tell the story it works well, but tends to be extremely descriptive. Almost as if the characters are now reading the narration boxes. It’s a tough balance but I think Busiek could have helped the flow somewhat by going one way or the other.
The artwork blows the story out of the water. Depicting animals as humans can be extremely difficult, especially in making their movements look believable. The artwork does this and more. This issue is so incredibly detailed that it looks like this city has been designed with a perfect set of blueprints. The artwork alone is worth the cover price. The book isn’t just about the pencils though as the coloring also does a ton of heavy lifting. Some of the pages turn towards total shading to set a proper mood for what is occurring on the page. It’s a fantastic visual story.
Tooth and Claw is a great first issue because of the price and the page count. It becomes a huge win with the stellar artwork within the book. The story is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I wasn’t sucked into story and I’m not sure if that is because I found the book to be overly wordy or if the subject matter just isn’t something that I’m into. However, at this price you should pick the book up and take a chance on it. You might find out you love this book. Check it out.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles