Just in time for Halloween, the adaptation of “Wolfcop” is here and he reluctantly wants to save us from road thugs, cannibals and huge, evil mutants. Being part wolf and part cop sounds like the most bad ass thing that has ever existed, I mean it is the ultimate combination, but as this new comic book from Dynamite proves, it ain’t as cracked up to be as you imagine. Let’s get into this shall we?
Written by Max Marks
Illustrated by Arcana Studios
Ever since hard-drinking local Woodhaven police officer Lou Garou had a late-night bender and stumbled onto dark magic, his life has been turned upside down. Now he moonlights as WolfCop, a rage-fueled, bourbon-swilling, magnum-toting, rabid warrior for justice! WOLFCOP #1 sees everyone’s favorite alcoholic lycanthropic lawman tearing out of the big screen and onto these gorgeous pages to fight bigger, badder, and meaner monsters than anything that has threatened Woodhaven before!
So that cover is pretty cool right? If you think it looks like a rad poster for a B-movie, then buddy, you are totally right. “Wolfcop” #1 is a new, comic book adaptation of 2014’s Canadian horror comedy of the same name. The film, if you haven’t seen it, is affectionately styled after the B-movies and exploitation films of the 70’s and 80’s. I think makes perfect sense that Dynamite would take this property on, it completely fits their M.O, many see the publisher as the comic book alternative to the ‘Grindhouse’ pictures. Not only have they borrowed the film’s actual poster, but the film’s creator/writer/director, Lowell Dean, is the book’s story editor. Unfortunately for anybody interested in this book, be it newcomer or longtime fan, Lowell’s presence is not felt and the whole issue is just a struggle to get through.
Max Marks is on writing duties for “Wolfcop” #1. I haven’t come across any of his works before, which isn’t a huge surprise as his inexperience shines through. His dialogue for example is clunky at best and then just outright terrible the rest of the time. Every character talks in a dumb, cliched filled manner that trips over itself and stalls. As well as this, you can tell he’s trying to capture that uber explicit way of talking that you find in the movies he’s referencing, but the tone of it gets lost in translating it to page. I feel like it would have worked much better if the dialogue was delivered in short, snappy one-liners. Also, the lack of self-referential jokes (or any humour for that matter) would have elevated this book from just being a teenage boy, bedroom fantasy.
With the “Wolfman” film you can sense Lowell’s affection for the genre come through, but it never feels like he’s just recreating it. I mean why would you? Nobody wants a stupidly gory, sexist train wreck anymore without feeling like it is being subverted at the least. This is Marks’s big mistake. He commits to the genre rather than spoofing or reinventing it. Lou Garou, aka Wolfcop, is just irritatingly wooden and pointless, even with the tone of this book, we’re going to need a protagonist we can root for. Though compared to the women who feature in this first issue, Lou is as complex as Tony Soprano. Least of all because he at least has a name. You can make things trashy and feel reductive without resorting to it. Just look at “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace” or “Danger 5” on Netflix. What could have been enjoyable and riotous instead just comes across as tedious and dull.
Similar to the writing, the art by Arcana Studios is just as bafflingly generic and tedious. Again that teenage boy fantasy thing comes into play. The book is filled with over-the-top gore, which yes, should be expected from an exploitation book like this, but seen drawn down on page, just seems lame and embarrassing. Seemingly gallons of blood is spilled, limps are torn asunder and bodies are tossed around like rag dolls. We are not so much desensitised to the violence as beaten into submission. But, at least Arcana Studios appear to have fun with the gore because whenever they have to draw a scene featuring no action it feels like it must have been a huge chore. Faces are simple and emotionless and the scenery is just inhumanly basic. You can feel the apathy for the talking scenes pouring off the page. I just want them to use a technique, any technique, something to make their however many pages of a book not so mind killing.Continued below
Overall, the creative team behind “Wolfcop” #1 failed to comprehend whether its source material could translate to a comic book. I actually believe it can, but not without understanding how and why it must change. If not, then you are left with a book that completely misses the mark while appealing to only a small audience. This is truly lowest common denominator.
Final Verdict: 1.9 – Such a bloody mess.