The denizens of The Autumnlands have found themselves under siege by the Bison tribe, but their Great Champion has a plan…

Sort of.  Your Major Spoilers review of The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #6 awaits!

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Ben Dewey
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: John G. Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt of Comicraft
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw: In a world of anthropomorphic animals and sorcery, many of the most powerful wizards came together to discuss the decline of magic, and joined their powers to raise The Great Champion of legend, a mysterious figure that they hope can save their way of life.  Said Champion turns out to be a human, a man named Learoyd (a soldier from what is seemingly our future), whose ways are a bit strange to the wizards of The Autumnlands, and the fall of the city (literally, as the magic finally frayed) has left a band of survivors at the mercy of the (justifiably angry) Bison-folk of the plains.  Now, a traveling trader named Goodfoot, whose motivations are a bit murky, has negotiated a “parley,” and Steven T. Learoyd of the Coalition Forces is preparing to meet face-to-face with legendary warrior Seven Scars…


There has been a little bit of delay since issue #5 (something that writer Busiek cops to in the text piece this issue), but as the story opens, I completely forget about any of that, becoming totally absorbed in the story.  As the morning of the parley arrives, a massive storm is brewing (and not just metaphorically), while Learoyd and Dunstan the novice wizard/adorable dog-faced lad make preparations.  Back in the city, Councilor Sandorst has imprisoned the other wizards (or, more importantly, the wizards who might oppose him) while searching furiously for lost magical items.  If you really want to know how well written this is, watching Sandorst fills me with the same sort of mute fury that I feel when unnamed members of my state’s legislature smugly rewrite and contravene law in order to support their own agendas and amass personal power and influence.  When an imaginary character can make you as angry as your governor (especially in the American midwest), Kurt Busiek is doing something right.  Learoyd, The Champion, meets with Seven Scars, and the two of them discuss what will happen now.  The Champion suggests one-on-one combat, but is turned down, and when Seven Scars asks testily why he’s even bothering to meet.

“Honestly?  Mostly just to delay you…”


That moment is when his ACTUAL plan goes into effect, and it’s quite brilliant (if a bit more pragmatic than the usual combat sophistry of the Autumnlands.)  Learoyd and the few warriors who don’t run away (another lovely touch) fight off Seven Scars and his allies (after a tactical masterstroke by The Champion reveals that neither side was actually playing straight), and Ben Dewey pulls out all the metaphorical stops.  The battle rages as the storm breaks, and it’s gorgeous stuff.  In fact, the whole issue is beautifully drawn, especially the customary pulp-style title illustration, this one a fully-painted take on Learoyd as a messianic figure leading the people of the Autumnlands out of the darkness.  The end of the issue is a shocker (especially when Busiek jokingly thanks us all for reading, as though it’s the end of the title rather than just the end of the arc), and leaves me really excited about more Autumnlands to come.  I’m not the fan of pulps or sword-and-sorcrery tales that the creators clearly are, but any story this riveting, with art this good, will get my attention, preferred genre or neverso…


The true joy of this issue (and most issues of The Autumnlands, to be honest) is the complexity of the story and characters, and the contrast of the canny, vulgar soldier Learoyd against the “how art thou, fellow, well-met” niceties of the world in which he finds himself.  The intrigue and power-struggles are wonderful (stupid Sandorst even pulls off, thanks to a combination of vanity and timing, a big win this time around), and the art is first-rate.  The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw #6 wraps up the first arc beautifully, and makes me want more of this story, immediately, earning a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  Given it’s quality and the $2.99 price point, one of the least-expensive comic reads available these days, there’s literally no reason not to pick up this book…



Swords and sorcery, but NOT the cliches that have always seemed come with it, with lovely art throughout.

User Rating: 5 ( 1 votes)
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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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