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Coyotes #1 (Review)

Coyotes #1
Image Comics, November 2017
Writer: Sean Lewis

Coyotes is a new comic book series from American publisher Image Comics. It is set in the fictional city of Lost Girls somewhere in Mexico. Lost Girls is plagued by a series of gruesome deaths involving numerous coyotes that attack its citizens, with young women being the primary victims.

In the middle of this bleak, scary scenario is a young woman named Red and a group of women called Victorias, who band together in an effort to protect themselves and take the fight back to the coyotes.

Told through a series of flashbacks, a reader may struggle to grasp the plot at first. Scene transitions are abrupt (as is the nature of flashbacks, interspersed within an interrogation scene). Less patient readers may feel like the story is dragging. However the measured pace establishes the backstory. It manages to demonstrate the predicament that Red is in, as well as the horrors that she had to suffer (including watching her last living relatives get eaten by coyotes). The pace slowly paints a picture of her motivation: revenge.

Aside from Red, the comic also makes an attempt to introduce the side characters. Red’s neighbor is a young girl who lost one of her eyes to a coyote while trying to save Red. There is also the new cop Frank Coffey, who is well-meaning but completely out of his depth, and then there is the Duchess.

The Duchess is the matron of the Victorias. She is a middle aged woman dressed in old Victorian garb, who takes it upon herself to shelter and train – both emotionally and physically – the Victorias in preparation for striking back at the coyotes. If there is one complaint we have with the writing, it would have to be the Duchess’ dialogue. We understand that she is portrayed as a walking mass of contradictions between sophistication, strength, and churlishness. Yet the comic’s only attempt to achieve this is by inserting different variations of “fuckin’” as an adjective. It makes the character seem horribly out of place. Regrettably, it portrays the story as written by a teenager trying way too hard to be edgy.

Outside of the minor complaint with the Duchess’ misplaced parlance and the discombobulated use of flashbacks, this first issue of Coyotes does its job, and well, as a plot springboard. Major characters have been introduced and their motivation explained, the danger manifest, and everything is capped off with a startling twist. The surprise to the story is that the coyotes, when killed, turn into humans. It was not made very clear in the cover, nor in the introductory scenes that there is a supernatural element involved. As a consequence the twist is genuinely surprising, though not completely unrealistic within the world being built.

There are flaws, but it is not enough to detract from the mystery being built. We are very interested in following the next few issues of this comic.