In Review: The Zoohunters #2

Poetic, beautiful, and alien.

The covers: Five choices like five golden rings. The A cover is by Peter Steigerwald with a creature being captured by Abros and his son Tyrellun. Abros has the creature well in hand, while Tyrellun has a net ready. Behind them is the mysterious Minalara and her pet alien “dog”. The imagery and coloring reminds me of a Richard Corben cover. The B is by Siya Oum, focusing exclusively on Minalara and her pet. They’re facing the wind on the surface of some alien world. Nice, but nothing spectacular. The C is a Retailer Incentive, again by Steigerwald, with twelve squares showcasing twelve different aliens. I love the variety of creatures and the coloring is spectacular. This one had me thinking of an Andy Warhol print. The D again features art by Steigerwald, but showing Minalara in a very Dejah Thoris Princess of Mars pose, reclined on a bed with her faithful pet by her side and a panoramic view behind her. Excellent! The final cover, the E, is a AspenStore.com Exclusive by Michael Turner and Steigerwald with, I believe, Aspen from Fathom, next to Minalara’s “dog”. Cute, Christmasy, and has absolutely nothing to do with this book, but I like it. Overall grades: A A, B B-, C A+, D A, and E A 

The story: Will calling a comic book beautiful hurt its appeal? I hope not, because this book has a truly beautiful story. Tyrellun’s journal tells the majority of this installment as the young man witnesses a tribal event, has a dream, and discusses it with two people. That’s it–that’s the issue. Each part leads to the next and after I read this I felt so relaxed. In his journal Tyrellun reveals that he’s still not comfortable with his father, since his mother has died from a plague on Earth. He’s learning as much as he can about each planet he and his father go to and as much as he can from the locals. The opening ceremony he witnesses directly leads to his dream about his parents. Only an old friend of his father can help him go to a deeper level in understanding the dream. Though this sounds very mystical, Peter Steigerwald presents his story so that anyone of any age could follow it and get something out of it. Pages 14 – 17 are the highlight of the book. The boy is starting to have a relationship with his father, but just lurking in the distance is Minalara who seeks the Zoohunter for a still unknown reason. Things will get ugly when she finds them, and that is going to happen quickly. Overall grade: A+

The art: If the story is to be labeled beautiful, then the art is gorgeous and Peter Steigerwald is to be congratulated. The setting is primarily a desert world where riders chase an animal while wearing ceremonial makeup. It’s like looking at Lawrence of Arabia if were set on another world. The opening double-paged spread instantly transported me to another place. The beast that they are chasing is a terrific design. I’ll admit to initially following this series to take a look at the aliens, as I like to see what artists can design, but this book is so much more than an illustrated menagerie of space creatures. Pages 7 and 8 reveal the intricate design of one native’s garb and it’s beautiful. I hope someone decides to cosplay this outfit because I’d love to see what it looks like on a real person. The individual that appears on Page 19 is wonderful. A simple design, but the coloring, also by Steigerwald, is tremendous. The setting of the last three pages is also a looker, with the coloring making it so real. I say again, gorgeous. Overall grade: A+

The letters: The dialogue, sounds, and chanting are also provided by Steigerwald (Geeze, what can’t this guy do?), but the journal font is by Josh Reed. I’m so glad that this font is differentiated from the other text in the book. It looks as though it were written by a young hand and looking at is a quick signpost for readers to realize that Tyrellun is making another entry. Excellent. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Poetic, beautiful, and alien. This is so much more than a comic book. Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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