Woodland Creatures Vol 2: Wild Souls (Site)
Creator / Writer – Cristina Roswell
Writer – Fali Ruiz-Davila
Art – Tomas Aira
Letterer – Gonzalo Durate)
Callie, a 25 y/o killer who’s soul-linked to a wolf, and her boyfriend Chris, a PTSD suffering soldier that constantly has to clean up her mess, must stop the US army from weaponizing their kind.
“Daily, you fight your demons. Yet no one knows of that which you endure. Yet you bear it alone, never speaking of it.” Samantha King
I just finished my second read through this gorgeous 70 page graphic novel and I enjoyed it even more the second time through. On the surface, Woodland Creatures appear to fit right onto the exponentially growing shelf of modern paranormal fantasies filled with heroic powers and epic destinies. But even upon a quick closer look, it is apparent that Woodland Creatures need to be on a shelf above the vast majority of the genre. It is a well thought out, high-end tale of the modern descendants of a mystical heritage. Our main character Callie has the ability to control, communicate and commune with her dire wolf (or amaroq) and as it turns out, Callie would be much more at home in the woods and probably centuries in the past. Woodland Creatures is not only the tale of her struggle to find her place in the world but also in her family. If we leave it just at that, and you are just looking for a decent book to put on your shelf, there is enough quality in the storytelling and the art (both of which I will dive into in a hot sec) to tell you to go to the WC site and pick up Vol. 1 and 2 right now. But if you need more convincing, read on.
Sometimes you come across a story that has a great idea or elevator pitch, but then the over-saturated details of the setting or the lack of any details outside of the direct narrative kill anything good about the tale. The writing team for WC (Cristina Roswell and Fali Ruiz-Davila) have found the sweet spot. The narrative field and story that they have created in WC has the perfect lens. The readers are given enough detail that we know that there are whole volumes of supernatural stories to be told in this world, and yet the narrative of this story is small enough that the reader cares about Callie and her personal journey. Another landmine for supernatural fantasies, that this writing team navigates brilliantly, is making the main protagonist relatable. Callie is an ex-military empathic lycanthrope, none of which I can personally connect with, but through her development I found her journey familiar and her compelling as a character. Bravo!
While I could gush about the narrative and writing for a while, the art is equally brilliant. I normally do not lean into black and white graphics, but the work here done by Tomas Aria is nothing short of genius! There is superb detail given for the main subject of each frame, and a minimalist approach for the far background allowing the reader’s imagination to fill in the details. Great choices were made for the layout and look of the overall book is top class.
The Bottom Line: One of the best books I have read this year! This is an amazing book – pick up Vol. 1 and 2 and you will not regret it!