Outstanding series She Wolf from Rich Tommaso, published by Image Comics, is currently collected in its first trade volume, and now running in its second but in many ways freestanding arc, “Black Baptism”. It returns this week for its second issue of the arc, and sixth in total so far. I have been reading this series from the beginning, and have been a fan of Rich Tommaso’s highly polished and accomplished artwork for some years, so I tend to get a little complacent, assuming that I’ll like a new issue and it’ll preserve a kind of status quo. But each time, without fail, the new issue of one of his works disturbs me more somehow, unsettles me differently somehow, and leaves me feeling like I had a fairly radical encounter with a new cartoonist.
You think you know this guy’s work and then you read this issue, and think “How the hell did he do that?” So far in Black Baptism, we have followed the dramatic coming of age of teen Lizzie, who is clearly following in the footsteps of her older sister’s transformation into a werewolf, only with seemingly less compunction about it. She runs toward the violence and insanity as completely as her sister resisted it. But, true to Tommaso’s strange logic (which I should have seen coming but didn’t), what do you do when a sibling goes off the rails? You send in the older kid to whip the youngster into shape. Especially if there are ideological differences between the two.
The upshot of all of this is that this week’s issue is composed of some rare carnage, even for She Wolf, but also some very interesting plot developments. Keeping spoilers aside, Lizzie might need more help than just a word of advice or two, and Gabby and her friend Nikki have got a long road ahead of them.
Never let your expectations doze on She Wolf. Every single issue will take new directions in storytelling. But top billing this week is a double-page wolf spread of Lizzie and Gabby locked in combat, and a close second is the great cartoonist Gregory Benton’s included pin up which features a truly eerily weird proto-wolf and a transforming Gabby.
Lastly, of note is the excellent double-page ad for Tommaso’s Image books in this issue. Big props to Image for recognizing Tommaso’s contributions to comics storytelling and celebrating his accomplishments.
Don’t miss out on She Wolf #6 this week, and if you haven’t checked out Volume 1 yet, you can find it here.
She Wolf #7 will arrive March 22nd.