Wolf Moon #5 launched last week, bringing us to the penultimate issue of the miniseries. Cullen Bunn and Jeremy Haun’s unique take on the werewolf mythos has laid out a gruesome but straightforward story that has started to flounder in recent issues. This issue does a lot to bring the story into a tighter focus, but it might not be enough to save the series.
Dillon and Cayce have a bead on the wolf’s newest location, thanks to news coverage about a vicious attack at a small town meth lab. Unfortunately, that coverage also inspired the county to offer a bounty on the unknown beast. Dillon arrives to find dozens of hunters all preparing to enter the woods and earn that money. He tries to get the sheriff to call it off, but instead gets a lead on who is harboring the spirit of the wolf this month. He tries to take care of it on his own, but the mysterious rival hunter seems to have gotten there first.
Fundamentally, this is a solid issue. We’re reintroduced to the wolf in the beginning, but its largely behind the scenes. The story is focused on setting up the final issue. The problem is, there are still a lot of unanswered questions going into this issue. Bunn does his best to answer as much as possible, revealing Cayce’s traumatic past and bringing the story’s ultimate antagonist back into the fray. However, waiting this long to give readers this information ends up hurting the book more than helping. There’s no reason to care about Cayce or what happened to her as she’s been mostly absent from the series. The rival hunter clearly has hidden motivations, but without any hints dropped along the way it feels forced to bring the story to an end.
Haun has proven issue after issue that he can draw a terrifying werewolf. This week the creature was reined in, but this just made the few appearances even scarier. There’s a tension in these scenes that’s palpable. The artist does a fantastic job of building these moments up, keeping the focus tight on the characters until the big reveal. There were a couple of panels where the human faces looked a bit strange, but overall the art is the selling point of the book. I also want to draw attention the wonderful cover by Marguerite Sauvage, my favorite since the Jae Lee cover of the first issue.
Wolf Moon started off with a lot of promise, but the last issue will determine if it can deliver. The story seems to have lost its way, but the unique premise is enough for me to see it through to the end.