The third installment of Cullen Bunn and Jeremy Haun’s werewolf miniseries Wolf Moon launched last week, bringing the focus of the story to the present. With a firmly established backstory, the creators focused this issue on showing the process of changing from man to beast.
The hunt is shown to us using a number of side characters , including Victor, the current unlucky host of the wolf spirit. Vic is having hallucinations, seeing the people around him as mauled corpses. He blames it on a lack of sleep, but the reader knows what’s happening. Vic transforms and starts a bloodbath, all the while being stalked by Dillon and a mysterious second hunter.
The decision to tell the story through side characters for the first half of the book was risky as it took away from the momentum of the first two issues. Bunn manages to make it work, but those scenes are some of the least effective of the series so far. The series snaps back when focus returns to Dillon. There’s a sense of approaching doom surrounding our protagonist, one that all of the characters seem acutely aware of. The moments between Dillon and Cayce, the girl he left behind to pursue the wolf, were especially effective in this regard and provided us another glimpse into the mystery of their past.
The final third of the issue is some of the most violent content of the series. The wolf is in a crowding shopping mall during the Christmas rush and nobody is safe from its wrath. There’s not a ton happening here in terms of character or plot development, but that doesn’t really detract from the issue. It sets up not only the conflict between Dillon and the wolf, but the conflict between Dillon and the mysterious hunter that has been lurking in the outskirts of our story. However, with such a deluge of violence, the panels do lose some of the impact they should have. The blood spatters and viscera inevitably begin to blend together.
Haun’s greatest strengths in the series have been in portraying the wolf as a force of destruction and the same can be said for this issue. When the fully transformed wolf stands in the center of the panel, it’s awesome to behold. Though I found that the amount of violence inhibited the storyline, there’s no doubt that Haun crafted every panel with great skill and care. Colorist Lee Loughridge brings the art home once again, accenting the violence while also easily differentiating the book’s settings.
While not the best issue of the miniseries so far, Wolf Moon #3 effectively sets up new conflicts for our protagonist. The art is still very impressive and I have high hopes for the second half of the series.