Writer: Sean Lewis

Artist: Caitlin Yarsky

Colors: Caitlin Yarsky

Letterer: Caitlin Yarsky

Cover: Caitlin Yarsky

Publisher: Image Comics

 

Spolier warning

 

This November, writer Sean Lewis (SAINTS, THE FEW) teams up with illustrator Caitlin Yarsky to bring us “COYOTES”, in association with Image Comics. Ahead of the release, we’ve been treated to this summary:

Hunted by a legion of wolves that roam the border, women are disappearing. The survivors band together to wage war. Detective Frank Coffey is trying to understand this mythic-level bloodbath when he comes across Red, a little girl with a secret and a sword. Ultra-violent and smart as hell, COYOTES transforms the everyday into a myth we can rally behind.

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The first thing that readers will notice when they enter the world of Red (real name Analia) and Detective Coffey is that in “COYOTES”, Lewis truly wears his heart on his sleeve. The writer has already admitted in interviews that the story itself is inspired by the real-life disappearance of women around the world, whether by murder, abduction or trafficking. Lewis directs his narrative with this in mind, building female characters that embody a fight-back attitude. In COYOTES, Red, Eye-Patch, Duchess and her associates trade powerlessness for rage. Lewis also subverts the cookie-cut detective image, showing the hilariously-named Detective Coffey to be fully naïve in his attempt to navigate “The City of Lost Girls”.

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In the Art department Yarsky excels, pouncing at the opportunity to produce a far darker work than seen in the rest of her portfolio. Her pencil, slick with blood and coated in dust, depicts a desolate landscape, a setting so vintage that even the oddly-dressed “Victorians” don’t look out of place. When the call goes out for something sharper, Yarsky gives us action shots Tarantino would drool over, making “COYOTES” a product that fans of multiple genre could sink their teeth into.

As for the plot itself, COYOTES opts to start six paces down the road, and then glance casually over its shoulder. It’s a move that should leave readers frustrated, but Lewis weaves his backstory into the narrative with ease, and the overall comic is pacey despite much of the action being rooted in the past. Detective Coffey interrogates the young woman Red, who he has found at the scene of a slaughter, painted in the same blood which drips from her sword. The cop is a recent transfer to the city, but moves through the early stages of the interview like he’s in complete control. But it’s Red who soon takes charge. She shows us the real City of Lost Girls, recounting the story of how her mother and sister were killed by the monsters that roam the desert. Of course, these beasts are only wolves at the surface. The real predators are far harder to swallow.

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That’s how issue #1 leaves us, with a quickly scribbled note from Analia informing Detective Coffey that the coyotes are real. For a story grounded in reality, it’s a poignant moment, and no doubt the first of many in what looks to be a very promising series from Image Comics.

Overall: 9/10

FOC: 10/16
Release date: 11/8

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