Wolvenheart is a new series coming soon at MAD CAVE STUDIOS. It's a soft horror, fantasy comic that will please lovers of creatures and monsters.
I was gifted an advanced copy and after reading it, I really wanted to write a complete review for the blog since... I was really pleased with what I discovered!
So, what is it about?
''Led by the legendary professor Van Helsing, Wolvenheart is an organization dedicated to monitoring anomalies in the space-time continuum. After the group is infiltrated and decimated by a cabal of history’s most infamous villains, led by the most notorious serial killer of the 16th century, Elizabeth Bathory, Sterling Cross, the organization’s most prolific monster slayer, winds up trapped in an alternate reality where his only choice is to fight his way through time and change the course of history! ''
Basically, Wolvenheart is the name of a secret society of monster hunters that can travel through space and time. Already, they promise some good elements with the concept.
In this first issue, we meet Sterling Cross, one of the best monster hunters there is. In his childhood, he was given the opportunity to be trained by Wolvenheart to learn how to fight monsters (werewolves and such). He grew up with a fortune teller as a maternal figure and the rest of his childhood his kept as a bit of mystery.
The story happens during the reign of Queen Victoria, just after Prince Albert's death. I love when fantasy stories involve some real-life elements in the universe. It makes easier to imagine what would happen if such a concept turned out to be real. I'm also a lover of England high society and I was really happy to see Queen Victoria mentioned. Although she only makes an appearance on a page, I have the secret wishes of seeing her becoming an important character in upcoming numbers. The story mentions the rise of a Queen in Black as the villain. How cool would that be if it was actually Queen Victoria mourning the death of the love of her life? I don't know, I'm just sending my ideas out there!
There is also mention of a Van Helsing as a recurrent character. He has an important place in Wolvenheart as he is the most famous monster slayer of all time and the current keeper of balance at Wolvenheart headquarters. He is also Sterling's mentor. For those of you who are unsure as to where they heard this name before, Van Helsing is a fictional character appearing in Dracula, written by Bram Stoker. Lots of stories took up the idea of Van Helsing, notably as a vampire killer.
MAD CAVE STUDIOS also hints in their incentive at another important character: Elizabeth Bathory. Elizabeth was a (real) Hungarian countess who was accused of several murders in the 16th century. Rumors also says she was often bathing in her victims’ blood in order to gain youth and immortality. Those rumors inspired lots of stories, most often as a Vampire.
So to recapitulate, Mark London wrote Wolvenheart by mixing altogether fictional characters, historical facts, myths and legends. That's a mix I am ready for although I'm sensing a strong Vampire vibe from this first number and I'm a little scared of seeing upcoming numbers falling into repetitive pattern or lacking originality.
However, The characters aren't depicted traditionally, I can see the influence of the writer through the characters but I think it's mostly because of the art style of Alejandro Giraldo.
The drawings bring a modern element to this rather vintage concept. The colors and the ''special effects'' made me thing of some CGI effects, which isn't a bad thing (it's something I find myself enjoying lately). I think the trick to elevate a story such as Wolvenheart is to add a personal signature to the concept for transforming it into something unique and original (because let's be honest, characters like Van Helsing and Elizabeth Bathory were used 1000 times before). For me, that's what the art of Alejandro Giraldo brings to the story. It's a modern twist on a traditional style with lots of blue and red and interesting use of contrast to create effects of lightning.
I'm thinking about Queen Victoria trying to bring back from the dead her beloved Albert with the help of vampire Elizabeth Bathory so they can reign together forever. Sterling will have to use his knowledge learned from Van Helsing himself, notorious monster/vampire killer to stop them and save the world from chaos.
Prediction apart, I'll say Wolvenheart #1 is a strong number.
I never get tired of seeing stories mixing fiction with reality, throw in some fantasy elements in it and I'm easily sold. I think Mad Cave Studios are lucky to have this creative team with them since I'm pretty sure they are going to deliver lots of good stuff!