For over a century, Vampires, werewolves and creatures from various colored lagoons have been a huge part of America’s pop culture.
But with every “Dracula,” comes a “Fright Night.”
More often than not, the stories involving these characters are a hackneyed reprisal of the original work, which fail to invoke the same type of emotional response.
The result is a blizzard of mediocrity and crap.
IDW’s “The Pound” is something different. It’s able to sift its way through all of the stereotypical monster nonsense and craft a tale that relies on a buddy comedy formula just as much as the monsters. The end result is a five-issue run that succeeds far more than it falters.
Sincere, yet wild and wacky, it’s easily one of the best indie comics currently available.
The writing of Stephan Nilson is funny and suspenseful throughout. As the story develops, you’ll find yourself impressed by the depth of the story. A tale of two men who quit their city jobs at Animal Control and start their own business to survive, “The Pound” is reminiscent of “Ghost Busters,” but separates itself by the amount of background. In five issues, you’ll learn secrets about werewolves and vampires and their allegiance and ancient prophecies. This provides the book with a solid angle and a sense of continuance. Without this, it would just be about two hilarious guys who accidentally caught a werewolf. By the end, the story manages to satisfy in spite of a lack of clarity at times.
During certain points in the trade, characters seem to get involved out of nowhere. Minor characters become major ones, with little explanation, in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t hurt the suspense of your disbelief, but it will force you to turn back and reread sections to get a better idea of who’s who.
The same thing can be said for the art of Karl Waller. Colorful and emotional, it’s able to highlight many of the touching and scary scenes in the book quite well. Nonetheless, there are a handful of points where it’s hard to tell what’s going on, or when his work, in general, is flawed.
One scene has the color of a person’s T-shirt change from one panel to the next. The killing wound in the final fight scene is hard to see unless you look closer than you should. Simply put, the visuals, particularly in this scene and other action panels, need to be a little more dramatic and fiery.
Considering how strong the rest of the book is visually and the beautiful design of the supernatural beasts and kick-ass main character, “The Pound” has many more positives than negatives.
No comic is perfect after five issues and “The Pound” isn’t close to perfection yet. The attention to the historic canon of these characters and the fun of two friends trying to survive an economic collapse by starting their own business is too cool to ignore though.
“The Pound” is damn good.
The good news is it can be even better.