By Jonathan Edwards
Though far from perfect, I got a fair amount of personal enjoyment out of Sean Lewis’s first book, Saints. His second, The Few, failed to hook me, and I stopped reading after the second issue. Now, he returns to contemporary fantasy with Coyotes, and its first issue falls somewhere in-between those of his previous two books. That is to say, it gets going a lot faster than The Few, but its premise still requires more elaborate exposition to set up than the likes of Saints. That being said, I could easily see Coyotes having the greatest overall appeal of Lewis’s books so far.
We begin with Detective Frank Coffey, a police officer recently transferred to “The City of Lost Girls”, arriving at the scene of a grizzly bloodbath. Twenty-some dead, and the only survivor, a teenage girl known as “Red” won’t say a word. However, we pretty immediately learn that she’s just giving the cops the silent treatment. From there we get her backstory: her real name is Analia, and she took on her colorful moniker before she started hunting down the ravenous supernatural coyotes that’d been coming after her, as well as other girls, for years. There’s also a short backup story detailing how exactly Detective Coffey got himself transferred in the first place. It’s a quick but decent read, and it helps give a little more context to Coffey who doesn’t get that much to do in the main issue.
The thing that probably most stood out to me is that there seems to be at least some level of Little Red Riding Hood parallels going on here. The lead being a girl named Red is obvious enough. The eponymous Coyotes are collectively The Wolf, as coyotes are themselves close relatives of wolves (also, Image’s synopsis for the book outright refers to them as wolves). Frank Coffey is presumably the Huntsman, and Duchess is Grandma. There is one additional easy comparison to be made, but it would involve some mild spoilers, so I’m going to avoid it for now. It’s not yet clear if the parallels are merely superficial, perhaps only using Little Red as a jumping off point, or if its impact on the story was a much deeper and significant one. So, it’ll be interesting to see what subsequent issues reveal in that regard.
The art is all pretty good. Yarsky’s style definitely looks comic, but everything is also fairly well-grounded. The character designs are more or less all distinct, and the palette makes great use of mostly a mixture of earth tones and warms colors. However, the “Coffey” back up story is depicted in black and white, and it works at least as well.
All in all, Coyotes #1 is a decent start, and if you’re into the premise, I’d say it’s probably worth you checking it out for yourself. It’ll likely leave you with some unanswered questions (for example: why exactly are these Coyotes chasing after girls?), but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I can enough potential and directions to take this book that I’ll at least be coming back for one more issue.
Writer: Sean Lewis
Artist: Caitlin Yarsky
Publisher: Image Comics