In the third and penultimate issue of Fearful Hunter, Jon Macy builds up the tension between love and (forced) duty—or is it between love and desire?
I’d said, in the review of the first issue, that I’d enjoyed the fact that there wasn’t any drama in there. I’d obviously been too hasty, because drama is certainly brewing now. Oisin, the druid in training, still has his “finals” to pass, and a god to meet. While we’d learned in the second issue of his master Tavius’s longings for a contact with his god, we now meet his master’s master, who’s even scarier. There’s a real horror sequence at the beginning of this 58-page issue (on sale from the author’s website), and I won’t spoil it, but I’ll just say that all druid apprentices don’t fare too well. As for Tavius, he still has the hots for Byron and seems prepared to sacrifice Oisin one way or another.
Meanwhile, as they say in comics, Oisin and his werewolf boyfriend Byron spend more time together, and Oisin asks to meet Byron’s pack, who turn out to look like punks, with more body hair and a hunger for fresh meat. Or maybe punks are usually like that.
With what we’d learned of Byron’s less than conventional behavior as a boy werewolf, I was wondering how his relationship with his pack would be portrayed. I thought having even the pack’s leader appreciate Byron for whom he is, and not whom he should be, was a nice touch, a good contrast to what the childhood of Oisin must have been.
The druid masters scene, full of forebodings for Oisin, and the punk camp scene, where friendship and love are celebrated, are the two sides of the coin stricken by Macy. The progression from the first issue works very well, with more and more clouds hovering over Oisin and Byron’s already strong love. I tend to think that the tension would have been greater if the two main scenes had been told concomitantly instead of in sequence, but that’s a matter of choice.
Macy’s art in this issue is often looser than in the previous ones, but it loses none of its illustrative qualities. Whether he draws a horror sequence or a dance-around-the-fire fiery evening, Macy manages to bring a lot of energy to his pages. There are little choices that I noticed more than before, like the way the people in Byron’s pack can be drawn with hollowed-out eyes with black around (see panel on the right), a visual code that usually denotes menace. It seems to me that using it for friendly characters, who happen to be predators with fangs, builds toward that tension I was talking about, this time between human philia and the unrelenting power of nature.
With the stakes now clearly delineated, Fearful Hunter races toward its conclusion with the next and last issue. Will Oisin manage to combine his duty as a druid and his love for Byron? Will Tavius get what his heart really covets? I can’t wait to see what Jon Macy has in store for his characters.
Update August 2012: The first issue of this series is available for free on iTunes, and the second one is also there.