New Series with a Supernatural Bounty Hunter
THE TOWER CHRONICLES: GEISTHAWK Volume 1 (Legendary Comics, September 2012 $7.99) Written by Matt Wagner. Pencils by Simon Bisley. Inks by Rodney Ramos. Color by Ryan Brown. Letters by Sean Konot.
Let this serve as a “heads up!” message between friends. THE TOWER CHRONICLES: GEISTHAWK Volume 2 is scheduled to arrive in comics shops this month. Get it, and grab yourself a copy of Volume 1 before the prices go up. This series should not be overlooked. It’s a strong contender to make my BEST NEW SERIES OF 2012 list.
Fans of horror comics with continuing protagonists like HELLBLAZER, SOLOMON KANE, BLADE, HELLBOY, B.P.R.D. and GHOST RIDER will find familiar ground here, but with a little different spin. John Tower seeks to eliminate dangerous creatures, but he does it for profit. Hard-core aficionados may feel like they’ve seen this before but it’s the presentation that makes the difference.
Legendary Pictures mastermind/founder Thomas Tull is responsible for the Legendary Comics division and is determined to bring the same magic to producing a new and original line of titles. First effort was the publication of Frank Miller’s HOLY TERROR, which met with favorable but mixed reviews. With THE TOWER CHRONICLES they may strike gold.
Tull’s ideas for Tower have been embellished, modified and enhanced by writer Matt Wagner. It’s so good to see his stamp on some current work again. The addition of Simon Bisley on art is an extra blessing. I forgot how amazing his pencils are. The rest of the art team completes the total picture: THE TOWER CHRONICLES is very pleasing to the eyes.
In the 66-page debut we are given a glimpse into the life and character of John Tower as he completes three missions: taking down a Strigoi; insuring that a deceiving and deceased Russian mob associate doesn’t continue to survive in poltergeist form; and helping track down a vicious vampiric serial killer with no discernable patterns of behavior.
With a long bloody scar running vertically across his left eye, tall and rugged John Tower looks every bit the mercenary. He does his work in a fully-equipped outfit that will remind some of the main character in the ASSASSIN’S CREED video game. As depicted by Bisley, Tower leaves a vivid impression of a determined tracker. The art is bold and graphic when it needs to be. The action scenes are extremely dynamic and worth dwelling over. There is a sense of realism to events as accurately visualized by Bisley that makes it seem almost authentic. Show us more, please!
On the surface it seems as if Tower makes a good enough living (from tracking down demons and monsters for the benefit of his wealthy clientele) to support his extravagant lifestyle. He’s found a unique occupation and does very well with his niche business model. Yet there is much more that Wagner only lets out in little hints and clues throughout the story. As Tower wins against the monstrous bird in the opening pages, the captions reveal his thoughts: “Once it’s over - - the beast bagged --- and the client alerted - - as always - - I think of you.” Throughout the book, the captioned narration by Tower seems to indicate he is speaking directly to a confidante, friend, family member or lover.
Even though he employs a highbrow Louisiana attorney to act as filter for the many requests he receives (including a Geisthawk website) Tower is still willing to accommodate some pleas for help from less wealthy sources. That includes the resourceful female FBI Agent Hardwicke who helps him track down “the Piranha killer”, a most unusual ravenous vampire-child that reminds of a Maurice Sendak wild and wonderful creature on amphetamines. In the explosive and bloody finale it seems as if a relationship is brewing.
As if all that wasn’t enough to entice you back for more, the book ends in Singapore with a coerced suicide-by-gun as a mysterious white-gloved figure speaks of his plans to call John Tower back into “the brotherhood” for some no doubt nefarious ends.
THE TOWER CHRONICLES will unravel across 3 story arcs, each with four volumes. With the talented Matt Wagner at the controls, I would expect this to get more complex and deep as it progresses. I’m onboard.