The Pack, the first, major ongoing project by Paul Louise-Julie, who we’ve recently spoken to, is about werewolves in Egypt, revenge and finding your way home.
The Pack takes modern canon and applies it to ancient Egypt. The most recent issue introduces the first major arc for the werewolf bros Khenti and Nekhet, and establishes the “not-Nekhet’s-girlfriend” Nephti, who promises lots and lots of potential if Louise-Julie doesn’t do anything silly. (Please don’t let her be ‘saved’, please don’t let her be ‘saved’).
Louise-Julie explained the introduction of Nephti as the need for a she-wolf who wouldn’t be just a pretty face. “As for her past, that was a direct nod to women around the world who grow up in extreme conditions of sexual and physical abuse,” Louise-Julie said.
We get a glimpse of this past in the third issue, although there isn’t much time for character development. Big questions are being asked, big plots are being plotted. There was plenty of catching-up to do as this issue takes place six months after the events of “Brothers out of Bond.”
The art is cinematic and not what we see coming out of bigger publishing companies (remember, Midas Monkee is just the one guy). An ‘individual style’ can be both good and bad, depending on the execution, but I think it’s safe to say that the execution is fairly awesome. The art is organic yet crystal clear, the evidence of Louise-Julie’s background in graphic design evident.
However, it’s this “fairly awesome” execution that seems to outweigh the story in the beginning. There’s far more dialogue in this issue than in the past, and between the catching-up and the rising action, the speech bubbles tends to slow the story down in a way that can irritate the reader. Of course, it’s necessary for the reader to fully understand what’s going on in the story but there’s also a case for over-explaining.
Overall, the strength of The Pack continues. The world in which Louise-Julie is establishing his characters gets bigger and bigger with every issue. The little details of research and history included in the panels makes the story feel immersive, not just a “Token Africa” comic. For its weaknesses, “Night of the Wolves” makes up with werewolves fighting were-crocodiles and a promising beginning to the first big boss fight of the series.
The Pack continues to be a strong voice in independent comics, whatever the rest.