As the sole creator of SHE WOLF, Rich Tommaso has the opportunity to make anything his imagination can create, from the art to the clever story.

In this book from Image Comics, Tommaso brings a unique perspective to horror with his charming illustrations and an interesting take on the traditional werewolf tail tale. These things give the story a personal touch that you don’t find in many mainstream comics.

LISTEN: Image Comics brings out some brilliant creators—including Greg Rucka of LAZARUS fame. Check out our interview with Rucka in this episode of the ComicsVerse Podcast! 

The art of this book is what first caught my eye. Tommaso’s style felt a bit sloppy at first, but as I continued reading the book, I came to love the art for its simplicity. The soft, light characteristics of the art make for an interesting backdrop for some of the moments in the story. Tommaso tends to use pastels and neutrals until he gets to more dramatic moments. At these dramatic points, he uses deeper, bolder colors to outline the seriousness of the scene unfolding. The characters, meanwhile, are simple, with added detail only at particular moments. All in all, the style and color palette work incredibly well for the story being told.

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The premise for SHE WOLF takes a cliché trope—teenage girl meets werewolf—and turns it on its head. Gabby, the teenage girl, thinks she has been bitten by a savage werewolf and soon begins to have nightmares. These nightmares, however, begin bleeding into her reality and force her to ask, “What is real?”

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This issue immediately throws you into everything—wolves, blood, and fear. From there, it’s a fast-paced romp through reality and dream, as Gabby tries to make sense of what exactly is happening to her. The two worlds begin to blend and get fuzzy when Gabby is sent to the principal’s office. The principal in her reality is praising her, but the principal in her nightmare is punishing. Running out of the principal’s office, Gabby stumbles upon a wolf and is confronted with more of the nightmare. We get our first peek of Gabby as a werewolf at the beach the next morning. Gabby is sitting on her towel, when she turns and there’s a small, white dog. Suddenly, we see a slightly more feral look in the girl’s eyes, fur begins sprouting from her skin, and she takes a defensive pose. Her friends, rather appropriately, freak out. The issue ultimately leaves you asking, “Well, what’s next?”

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Tommaso doesn’t let the surrealism confuse readers, though. He uses clever differences in the personalities of real and dream characters to hint at the setting of each panel. The characters are immediately likable and relatable, and though this issue felt slightly too fast-paced, it almost seemed intentionally so.

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READ: Want more phenomenal indie comics? See our review of WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR #8. 

The simple, soft colors and interesting, surreal writing are what make SHE WOLF a great comic, even just one issue in. With a beautifully set story and intriguing art, I’m definitely looking forward to picking up future issues of Tommaso’s latest venture.

What did you think of SHE WOLF #1? Comment on this post or tweet us @Comicsverse so we can hear your reactions.

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