Written by Kurt Busiek
Art by Ben Dewey
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Published by Image Comics
Release date: December 3, 2014
The first issue of Tooth & Claw was very exposition heavy and therefore a little dense for many readers, but if you’re coming back to the sophomore outing, you will be glad you came along for a second ride. Now that the Gharta the Seeker has managed to convince everyone to join their magical powers and bring back the Champion from the past, the group begins the ritual that will bring magic back into their world and save their people. Unfortunately for them, the bison tribes are terribly unhappy with the way they have been treated and viciously attack the group of magicians just as the ritual is completed. Their magic is weak and has little to no effect on the bison. Luckily, their spell works and the Champion is thrust in the middle of the battle, singlehandedly taking down the intruders. As the bison tribes flee in terror, the Champion is defeated and a crowd gathers around to discuss his lack of animal traits; he is, afterall, human.
Kurt Buziek continues to prove why he is such a masterful storyteller. There is so much mythology in this world that we have only begun to scratch the surface of where this series could go. The dialogue can be a little heavy at times, but it is so rewarding to follow along and learn how these beings think and feel. Here they are finally face-to-face with the champion they’ve been longing for, and many of them cannot embrace the fact that he is so unlike them. These may be animals, but there is something very human about the way to interact with each other and the world around them.
The art by Ben Dewey is simply gorgeous, particularly when it comes to the character designs. Nearly all of the characters in this book are anthropomorphized animals which can be difficult for some artists. Even within the same species of animal though, the look of each character is unique which speaks greatly to Dewey’s talents. The shining star of the book remains Jordie Bellaire’s color work. I have long been a fan of Bellaire’s and her color work never ceases to amaze me. Her color palette here is more muted than in some of her other work, but works beautifully in this post-apocalyptic magical realm.
If you skipped out on the first issue, you may want to rethink your decision. Tooth & Claw #2 further expands on the first issue with some very interesting story and character development with the same beautiful art and character design. If this book continues to develop this way, Tooth & Claw may very well become a classic fantasy tale that everyone will want to read.