Busiek, Dewey and Bellaire take on epic fantasy in the oversized (and one heck of a bang-for-your-buck) first issue of Tooth & Claw.
Epic fantasy is the best description I can think of for Tooth & Claw, an ambitious undertaking by three skilled creators. This series focuses on an anthropomorphic society that is heavily reliant on magic….and they are about to lose it. Hooked? Damn right you are. As if the names Busiek, Dewey and Bellaire weren’t enough to pull you in, now you’ve got an interesting story to boot!
Kurt Busiek is on his game with this one. Much of the issue is world building and Busiek does it very well, letting readers get information in an organic way rather than force feeding it to them. Busiek lets the information flow at a nice pace to keep it from becoming overwhelming. There is a ton of information here, don’t get me wrong, and if seeing a new world take shape is your bag, then Tooth & Claw #1 will be right up your alley. Busiek writes with the same confidence and skill as his excellent work on Astro City and if Tooth & Claw maintains the quality of writing found in this first issue, comics is once again in a Golden Era of Busiek. The writing in this issue is damn strong and I look forward to reading more soon.
Dewey and Bellaire bring the large-scope world to life in grand fashion. Anthropomorphic animals appear to be no challenge for Dewey and he handles a massive cast of characters with ease. Despite several different species to pencil, Dewey makes each convey emotion well. The huge undertaking of building a world from scratch is a challenge that Dewey meets head on and he absolutely nails it. His work is strong and this oversized issue really gives him the space to cut loose and make sure the big moments of the issue hit hard. Jordie Bellaire, colourist extraordinaire, takes Dewey’s artwork and fills it full of steroids to make it bigger and bolder in every way. Her work takes strong artwork and elevates it to epic, and it is the colour work that sets the tone for this comic. The power of the magic is eviden in the colour work and this comic soars due to the skilled collaboration of Dewey and Bellaire. It’s a big story with big art, and you can’t ask for more than that.
Tooth & Claw #1 is kicks off an ambitious and entertaining story in grand fashion. This issue is crafted by a trio of skilled comic-makers and is fantasy done right. The huge scope of this comic will suck readers in and not let them go and the oversized issue is a great value. I highly recommend giving this one a shot if fantasy tales are your jam and I can’t wait to see what Busiek, Dewey and Bellaire have in store for this series going forward.
The Verdict: 10/10