The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 proves that threats to the safety of the now fallen city aren’t all as big and scary as one would suspect.
Previously on The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #2: The champion is a scary naked guy who swears.
FANTASTICALLY SLY MS FOX
I love fantasy as a genre, but it’s a tough one in the comics medium. It shouldn’t be a surprise that veteran writer Kurt Busiek pens the genre as if he was born to it and that The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 is an outstanding issue. It deals a lot with how the human champion deals with landing in a city full of anthropomorphic magic wielding beings and examines the idea that threats to their safety aren’t all shaped like weapon wielding bison.
The champion finally arrived in the past issue and although he demonstrates the range of his vocabulary in the pages of The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 it features more expletives than readers may suspect for a high fantasy tale. For the most part he isolates himself from the populace and Busiek takes this opportunity to teach readers some things about where he has come from and what his life must have been like there. It’s revealed that he is a soldier involved in a conflict and a piece of bioware on panel suggests that the champion’s world is more science fiction-based.
How cool is the idea that Busiek is marrying the genres of scifi and fantasy (so often lumped together, though at their core so very different), against the backdrop of The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3?
Beyond several small plot points that prove the champion comes from a possibly post-apocalyptic future world Busiek also gives him a scene wherein he illustrates his great nobility. Naturally, it is wrapped up in a blanket of harshness, but readers have the opportunity in The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 to see the leader that he hopefully is going to be for this world.
Sandorst the self-important wizard (who also happens to be a great horned owl), is the champion’s literary foil in every way throughout the pages of The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3. When a female traveler slips into the fallen city – called Goodfoot the Sly, although she leaves the latter title off during her introduction – the fact that she is a red fox which are traditionally viewed as deceitful (even in the Japanese kitsune tradition), goes unnoticed. Goodfoot whispers sweet encouragement into Sandorst’s ear and is easily able to manipulate him into revealing strategic information about what goods/services/magics the fallen city still has at their disposal.
Busiek awesomely gives the dog boy Dunstan, who figured prominently in the first issue, an appearance in The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 when he overhears a shady remark from Goodfoot the Sly. However, when he attempt to bring this to the attention of Gharta, Sandorst and anyone in power he is brushed aside as a foolish child. The final panel of the issue proves Dunstan’s fears to be grounded and promises much conflict in the coming issue.
I’ve already put it out there, The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 is an outstanding issue. It’s been thoughtfully put together by Kurt Busiek and manages to be entertaining whilst setting building blocks for coming issues.
BEAUTIFUL AND SCARY
Benjamin Dewey does an awesome job in the pages of The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3. The animals in each panel are alternately stunning to behold and utterly frightening. They have the diversity and thoughtful construction of works like the Game of Thrones series where George R.R. Martin describes each and every member of the crowd.
Dewey makes intelligent choices about which type of animal ought to portray each character. For example, a slow blacksmith is portrayed as a hulking black bulldog. He is simple and bulky and when the characters makes a foolish choice readers are doomed to empathize with him and his small doggie brain. In the same vein, the bison are the most frightening thing to be put on the page maybe ever.
Jordie Bellaire’s colours breathe even more magic into Dewey’s pencils and lends a very painterly quality to the aesthetic of The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3. Even the most innocuous of actions feels as if it belongs on a great painting or tapestries with Bellaire’s colours layered on top.
The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 is just a visual story that reads on an epic scale.
THE BOTTOM LINE: ANTHROPOMORPHIC GREATNESS
The Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #3 is a great issue following in the vein of two great issues. It’s big storytelling on a compelling canvas and if you’re not reading this series you’re cheating yourself.