The first issue of Tooth and Claw was one of the most promising debuts to come out of Image this year, and I’m happy to say that the second instalment doesn’t disappoint either. Continuing the story of Dunstan and his fellow animal people in the wake of the fall of their city, this issue is just as impressive as the first in terms of art, world-building and character. If you’re not reading Tooth and Claw yet, then you need to start now! What I must praise this series most highly on is how well it immerses you in this bizarre world of so-called ‘animal people’. In just two issues, writer Kurt Busiek has established his world so well that seeing a warthog talk to a giraffe about magic spells no longer seems strange at all! In fact, I can’t get enough of these characters and really enjoyed seeing their immediate reactions to the disaster that ended last issue. I almost wish that we could have spent a little more time focusing on how they’re each dealing with the situation they’re in, but that would have taken away from what made up the bulk of this issue – one heck of a fight scene!
I feel that long fight scenes in comic-books are very hard to pull off well. You have to have a very capable artist to give a series of still images enough fluidity to easily form a fast-paced action sequence. Fortunately in this issue artist Benjamin Dewey proves he is more than ready for the challenge. The fight scene that takes place throughout most of this issue is one of the most entertaining and well-portrayed that I think I’ve ever read in a comic-book. It moves forward at a blistering pace, with not one awkward panel interrupting the flow that this creative team effortlessly creates.
After this stellar display of talent it is safe to say that the small doubts I had about Dewey’s art after the first issue are gone, and in their place is sheer excitement at the great work that we will surely see from him in the coming months.
The only criticisms I have of this issue is that it doesn’t really move Busiek’s broader story along very far. Come the end of this issue, Tooth and Claw’s cast of characters are in much the same position as they were at the end of issue one. Plus I have to admit that this instalment’s big reveal was very predictable, and something I had figured out by the end of the first issue. However these are very nitpicky complaints, and there’s no denying that even with these in mind this book is great and deserves a place on your pull list.
I don’t have much more to say about Tooth and Claw #2 except go buy it, and make sure you follow this series avidly from now on. With some absolutely beautiful art, a cast of interesting characters, and a story with plenty of promise this is shaping up to be one awesome series. The fact that it’s still only $2.99 is just the cherry on top. So I’ll say one more time: buy this book!
Writer: Kurt Busiek Artist: Benjamin Dewey Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 12/3/14 Format: Print/Digital