A strange thing happened at A Shop Called Quest, one of my favorite comic shops, a little while ago. I was exploring the manga, which I don’t do very often, and I picked up a title I’d never seen or heard of before. The spine alone caught my attention and stood out as different from the other works surrounding it, so I peeked inside and was pleasantly surprised with Mitsuhisa Kuji’s beautiful artwork.
I don’t know manga authors or illustrators very well at all yet, so I don’t feel terribly confident in my ability to judge a book by its cover (or a brief skimming of its gooey insides) at this point. Normally if I pick up something in the manga section it’s because I saw the anime by the same name, or a friend suggested the title, so this was a new experience for me. I asked the clerk and he said he hadn’t read it yet, just though it looked interesting, so I took a chance and took Wolfsmund home with me.
I was intrigued to find that my new purchase was actually a retelling of the story of William Tell. After I finished reading I did a little research and educated myself a bit more about the legend since, I’m sad to say, I had very minimal knowledge prior to picking up this title. And they say comics rot your brain!
So, good Sir William was a hero, an expert crossbowman, and mountain climber, or to quote the book “The greatest mountaineer in the Alps.” but we’re introduced to a wide range of characters before William even shows up in the pages of Wolfsmund, and I got attached to a good number of them just to have them murdered in cold blood before my very eyes. Mitsuhisa Kuji makes you care for the characters you meet, even when you only know them for a few pages. You’re invested in their plight and rooting for victory and freedom from their oppressors, oppressors who are themselves intriguing characters you want to know more about.
This is a story of knights, and bandits, damsels in distress, and other damsels that kick a fair amount of ass. A tale of rebellion, it is not one for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of blood, and a surprising number of beheadings mixed in among other deaths, a fair amount of nudity, and sexy times by the second book. I highly recommend this title, unless you’re offended by violence or nudity, and have already purchased and read through volumes 2 & 3. Sadly the 4th volume doesn’t come out until April.