In an age of Vampires and Zombies, heroes who roam the night protecting us from ghouls and goblins are as necessary as Batman and Superman.
The Tower Chronicles, from writer Matt Wagner (Mage, Grendel) and 2000 AD artist Simon Bisley, hits comic racks this week from Legendary Comics. This supernatural action-adventure story introduces us to John Tower. Much like Blade, he focuses extra-normal villains. These aren’t super-powered villains, but rather those creatures you’d find in a Grimm fairytale, on HBO’s True Blood or on the CW’s Supernatural.
The first twelve pages focuses on one of Tower’s hunts. He’s chasing down a seemingly innocent woman as though he’s a robber – except this robber leaps over objects with the grace of an acrobat. He also carries around enough rope to tie up his prey or use the rope as Wonder Woman would use her lasso.
Wagner’s writing style gives us just enough information to keep us intrigued. Tower is hired by his clients to hunt down various supernatural creatures, whether they’re brought in dead or alive doesn’t matter. This anti-hero also doesn’t care about taking down innocent law enforcers if they stand between him and his target. Tower’s the brooding type with a mysterious backstory. The first twelve pages reveal a facial scar down his left eye. It’s also hinted that someone in Tower’s past may have been lost to one of the creatures of the night.
Bisley does an excellent job of capturing both fear and rage from panel-to-panel. His style works well when jumping from mundane human characters to more visceral, blood thirsty beasts. Also, don’t expect just the canned variety of night creatures in Tower. There are few bizarrely horrific drawings on page eight, which easily separate this series from your typical Marvel or DC Comics panel.
While the first twelve pages are intriguing, Tower’s origin and motivations will dictate how well The Tower Chronicles is received. There’s a subtle feeling of Blade meets Daredevil or Batman. He may be a hunter for hire, but I would like to see some more differentiation to set him apart from old archetypes.