Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin Kiernan #review

Title: Alabaster: Wolves
Author: Caitlin R Kiernan
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics, 2013

This is my first encounter with Dancy Flammarion, and possibly the first comic book I’ve read since I last read through the entire The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. The artwork is well-executed and evokes the disintegrated landscape.

A drifter, Dancy Flammarion holds onto her religious background as a moral compass while she goes about slaying such monsters as she encounters. Much like Joan of Arc, this teenage girl is guided by a vengeful, fiery seraph which may or may not exist as a figment of her imagination.

In Alabaster: Wolves, written by Caitlin R Kiernan and illustrated by Steve Leiber, we join Dancy as she waits for the bus in an abandoned Southern town. Almost immediately she is beset upon by a young girl who’s a lot more than what she appears—and Dancy is pressed into a game of riddles that has dire consequences.

Abandoned by her angelic guide, Dancy must face a great evil, ultimately coming to terms with deeper issues, such as whether she acts on her own will or remains a pawn of others. I’m reminded of the quote of Friedrich Nietzsche: Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Who is the real monster? Dancy, or the creatures she kills? Either way, readers will be drawn into a world that hints at yet never full explains darker, blood-drenched mysteries. Not for the fainthearted, Alabastar: Wolves has tantalised me just enough to want to delve further into Kiernan’s creations. If you loved The Sandman, then go pick up this offering. It leaves you feeling somewhat scratchy behind the eyes, and piqued because you feel like you’ve only had a glimpse at a small fragment of the bigger story.

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