“ALABASTER: WOLVES” is the latest comics project by writer Caitlín R. Kiernan, known for her fiction that favors the weird and unusual. Dark Horse Comics is lucky to have her and so are we. Of course, Dark Horse has a way of courting great writers. They inspired Kiernan to “reboot” her character, Dancy Flammarion, taking her from a 13-year-old “killer of monsters,” to a 17-year-old slayer. In Issue Three (3 of 5) we get a variation on one of Kiernan’s previous “Alabaster” tales. We get a good long look at what lurks inside a cage from a strange roadside attraction out in the middle of a dusty old patch of Georgia boondocks. That ain’t no panther they got locked up back in there.
Dancy is a fierce creature, a young woman who believes she is guided by an angel, and she won’t stop until she has fullfilled her quest. In this issue, Dancy is up to her eyeballs in hellacious demon fury. She gets thrashed about and gets impaled! Ah, but it’s only a very, very bad dream. She wakes up to find herself in the care of an old friend, well, not quite an old friend, more of a ghost who is hoping to score a favor from Dancy.
In return for the ghost’s hospitality, Dancy begins by telling her the tale of the panther kept locked up in a cage, except it’s not really a panther. It’s yet another test that Dancy must pass on her quest. Does she make the grade? You can decide. As for the art by Steve Lieber, it gets an “A-plus.” How can you go wrong with Mr. Lieber? Check out his work with Jeff Parker in “Underground,” or his team up with Greg Rucka in “Whiteout.” There’s a gritty realism that works so well with this Southern gothic tale.
Lastly, Kiernan has a lovely way with dialogue. These folks are serious Southern folks. When Dancy first encounters the roadside attraction, there’s just no telling how long it will take for her to get a straight answer from the proprietor. “You think I’m gonna put up a big ol’ sign sayin’ I got a live panther if I ain’t?” Well, huh, yeah, probably. Cause that ain’t no panther.
“Alabaster: Wolves #3″ comes out today! Visit Dark Horse Comics.