Written by Sean Lewis
Art by Caitlin Yarsky
Published by Image Comics
Release date: December 13, 2017
Folktales are an important part of the legacy of storytelling. For times when there were no pen, paper, or stone tablets the passing of stories by the mouth of elders to the ears of the young was life. Stark imagery and exciting stories helped to cement lessons, history, and culture in the minds of the next generation.
Today the folktale is all but a whisper lost among the noise of rhetoric, entertainment, and ugliness that fills our minds. So, it is such a treasure to run into a story that feels so much like a genuine folktale as the Coyotes series does. The imagery is so strong both in art and word that the reader will feel like they are sitting by a fireplace listening to their grandmother weave of tale of old.
Sean Lewis has constructed an amazing tale in Coyotes and has deepened the lore even more with issue #2. While the first issue felt like a straight up Latinx folktale this issue widens the perspective to give the reader a layer of modernity and at the same time deepening the legacy of the sisters. Lewis is quickly moving the reader out of the past and into the present as Red begins to learn there is much more to her new world than she thought. The story moves at a very rapid pace, mostly due to the high amount of action but it is a very enjoyable ride.
We are introduced to some new characters and one very important person at the end. This new character and their story will make the reader want to move on to issue #3 right away. Many of the main characters are grown by their back story and their actions in this issue. They are being fleshed out nicely. Lewis has given each character their own set of mannerisms that are revealed in their dialogue. It brings them to life in a way that is hard to do in still images. As is mentioned in the introduction folktales are composed of strong imagery that sticks in the mind.
Lewis has done the same with Coyotes and even if there was no artwork to go with the story it would be just as powerful. The only place that the story may be a little bit off is with the character of the detective. Though he does inject a little bit of comedy in the story his character is not as immediately likable as Red is.
Of course the story is only beginning and he may play an integral part soon however he does stick out, a little. The rest of the characters and story are so strong, though, that it may be the reason why he stands out as much as he does. It is good to see strong women saving a clueless male though. This issue has more than just action in it because a number of important revelations are unveiled in moments that frame the story points expertly.
It feels like only Caitlin Yarsky could have created the artwork for Coyotes. Her style already leans heavily towards the idealistic fairy tale look of the masters Maxwell Parrish, or Alphonse Mucha. Her cover art for issue #2 shows just how talented she is traditional while her artwork for the pages of the book are a stylized version of art deco and Latinx folklore art.
Some of the panel layout design directly points to the aforementioned Mucha’s enchanting style. In many places through the issue the panel design directly affects the mood of each scene and imparts feelings of running blood, dizziness and horror. It is masterful work. She not only captures the individualistic beauty in each of the characters of Coyotes but also is a master at portraying realistic poses. The girls come alive and do not feel like comic book or cartoon characters. The reader will be able to see and because of this hear the girls running through the pages.
The layout of the action going on in each panel is very fluid and one of the reasons (besides the fact the issue is so good) that it reads as fast as it does. One panel smoothly flows into the next and carries the eye like a lovely stream of art to the impactful end that ends in exciting explosion of beautiful character design.
Character design and details throughout are a joy to sit and examine after having experienced the story the first time through. Each character has their own costume intricacies as does the set around them. Everything feels like it has been in its place for some time before the reader comes across them. Everything has a history.
Finally, as is so important in comic book art, Yarsky captures the soul of the characters in their eyes. With some panels framing the face or eyes in a close up she drills home what each person is feeling. Yarsky’s eyes convey passion, pain or laughter in each panel and impart those emotions on the reader. It’s hard to escape this issue without running through a gamut of emotions. These feelings are deftly brought into focus with the use of colors to drench the reader with the mood of the moment.
For the most part very passionate colors are used throughout the issue except for some moments in the beginning that very aptly cold and sterile. Beautifully, though, the issue ends in soft fantastical-mythical pastel colors that closes the issue perfectly.
Coyotes #2 is such a beautiful joy to read. It feels like a modern folklore being painted to life for the reader. It’s imagery firmly creates a lasting after-image for the reader to ponder on. The story is quickly evolving into much more that what it seemed to be starting out as. Lewis and Yarsky are possibly creating a tale that could live on beyond it’s print life and into folklore.
The Verdict: 9.5/10.0