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Review: Becky Cloonan’s Wolves, The Mire, and Demeter

Wolves

Wolves CoverAs a lone hunter tracks an elusive beast through the forest, he reflects on his life and past love through a series of flashbacks, bringing the story to a climax that is as romantic as it is violent. This powerful mini-comic lends itself to multiple read-throughs, never giving concrete answers but (like the best enigmatic endings) leaves your own conclusions satisfying.

The fact that this self-published comic is more readily available through digital comics, it felt like a good time to finally review it along with Cloonan’s other similar releases.

Wolves is absolutely amazing standing up to multiple reads with each leaving you questioning what you read in a good way. The story is open ended, leaving it to be interpreted by the reader and each will come to different conclusions. The story is simple enough, a hunter tracks a beast, but the simple story is given multiple layers through the way it’s plotted out and the details that are given and not given.

Though in a way it’s an action comic, the tale is very much a love story and that of loss. It’s romantic and sad at the same time, a simple read that’s more complicated and deep than it might seem through a quick glance.

Through this release alone, you have to wonder why this talent isn’t given a series of her own. I love to check out her art, but this comic blows away much of what’s been written in the last five years. Brilliant in it’s simplicity and execution.

Story and Art: Beck Cloonan
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

The Mire

The Mire CoverThe much anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Wolves, The Mire is a self-contained story set on the eve of battle, when a humble squire is given the task of delivering a letter to a decomposing castle in a swamp. Met with mysterious apparitions, he slowly unveils the truth about why he was sent there, as his past is re-written over the course of twenty two pages.

Continuing with the fantastic twist she pulled off with Wolves, this comic is a bit more straightforward and not as open for interpretation. However, we’re left wondering the point of this squire’s journey to the very end. Much like Wolves, this comic also deals with love and loss as well.

There’s a vibe about the comic, it’s not quite horror, but there’s still something that makes you tense as you don’t know what to expect when the comic reaches its conclusion. The story and art are a fantastic marriage that come together to produce this unease.

The comic is another great example of Cloonan’s talent and again makes you question why she hasn’t been given a greater spotlight as a writer.

Story and Art: Beck Cloonan
Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Demeter

Demeter coverA fisherman’s wife tends the garden and animals while her husband is at sea, but secrets buried under the waves begin to bubble to the surface revealing a secret treachery and forgotten truth.

The third and final book in the trilogy of comics by Becky Cloonan. This one too deals with love but also life and death as the title suggests. Demeter is also a Greek goddess who presided over the harvest but also the sanctity of marriage, law and cycle of life and death.

While the first two comics in this trilogy were puzzles, this one is a pretty straightforward story, but asks the reader to fill in the blanks and interpret what’s presented. Unlike Wolves, I don’t see this one as open to interpretation though. It’s an interesting tale that took me two or three reads to really “get.”

The vibe I get though is also interesting. The comic reminded me of Highlander mixed with Blair Witch. Not the whole movies, but certain scenes or plot details from them. It has a spooky vibe and more of a poetic tone as far as it’s presentation than the previous two releases.

Much after I’ve read it, the comic still haunts me as I try to work through the beautiful imagery mixed with an eerie vibe.

Much like the other two releases, this is an absolute buy.

Story and Art: Beck Cloonan
Story: 8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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