REVIEW: Tooth & Claw #1

Story: Kurt Busiek
Art: Ben Dewey
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Lettering & Design: John Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date:  November 5, 2014

Among this week’s releases comes Tooth & Claw #1 from writer Kurt Busiek and artist Ben Dewey.  In this issue, Busiek introduces us to his fantasy world of magic, politics, religion and anthropomorphic animals that practice magic and live in a floating city.  Still with me?

Much of this issue is world building. The story opens with Dunstan, the son of the Head of Trade for their city, accompanying his father on a short journey.  During the trip Dunstan learns about his future responsibilities to oversee trade while we, the reader learn of their culture.  As Dunstan and his father return home to their city, we learn that magicians from cities all around the land have gathered and share a common concern. Magic is failing. It is here we me Gharta, a magician (and a warthog) who has a plan on how to save magic and their cities.  After having her plan shot down by the elder statesman of the group, Gharta assembles a team of magicians to follow through with the plan anyway.  The rest of the issue follows Gharta and her team of magicians through their plan, and the unexpected consequences of their actions.

Getting on board with such ambitious stories as this can sometimes feel overwhelming to a reader.  That is not the case with this book.  Busiek does a great job of introducing us to the world that he has created, and the characters that live in it.  This first issue follows a small group of characters on a specific journey and allows the reader to develop some attachment to the story.  However, you can’t help but feel there are bigger things to come and countless exciting, new characters to meet.

The art in this book is terrific.  Whether character design, backgrounds our layouts Ben Dewey has really knocked it out of the park.  Jordie Bellaire’s efforts deserve just as much praise.   Her colors are consistent throughout each extremely detailed panel.  What Dewey and Bellaire create for panels involving magic is truly spectacular.

Final Verdict: Quality storytelling. Great art. Definitely give this one a try.

By Alan Zeller