Rate or Kill is the new series of episodic posts that analyse and discuss new media from Anime, Comics, and Movies. I take a piece of art before I finish consuming it, and then determine whether it’s good enough to Rate or bad enough to Kill, just from the first arc of its premise. The first arc, whether it be the first comic issue, the first three episodes, or the first Act of a film(Chances are if i have to turn a film off before I finish it, it’s not that good a movie!), is important in revealing the story’s narrative potential from initial consumption.
My rebellious streak towards Superhero comics has lead me to some of the darkest, and some of the weirdest parts of comic book media far removed from the mass of superhero stories. Writer Sean Lewis and artist Caitlin Yarsky bring forth a world of dark intrigue. The story is set in the dark city of Lost Girls – a small Mexican town of women hunted by a legion of coyotes. The young protagonist, Red, is a young orphan girl trained in the way of the Samurai, who dedicates her life to hunting the beasts that roam the border.
The art style is fluid and raw, deliberately crude to depict the world it represents. I’ve only read the first issue of the series, so I won’t hold the story in high regard just yet. The story is careful not to reveal too much in its first issue, which is good because it means it’s not trying to pander to those that find themselves drawn to it, but can be bad for someone who needs more information to decide whether it’s something to spend money on. With that said, I felt entranced by the story, almost terrified for the City Of Lost Girls, where women are disappearing and Red, our surrogate character first seems like a doomed lost orphan with no chance of surviving.
There’s also an element of noir, especially when the story shifts to one of our other main characters, Detective Frank Coffey, who comes across Red along with the female survivors waging war on the coyotes. Personally, I love film noir and gritty storytelling, so naturally, I was eminently enthralled. The post credit panels focus entirely on Detective Frank Colley and his life, drawn entirely in black and white, to depict his view on life as a detective.
Fall Outs & Conclusion
The story isn’t without its fall outs(as these things tend to go). The element of time and space was difficult to follow, that is, at certain points of the story, I couldn’t make out where one character is and which aspects of their lives are being explored. It was meandering experience trying to follow, as the monologue bubbles of the panels tend to overlap and convolute between a character’s past and their present. This leaves characters feeling as if they are at two places at once, and with a story of such potential, it completely ruins the narrative.
Maybe, it’s just me… Maybe, I was too tired or hungry to make out the complex nuances of its narrative. But, it created a disconnect that prevented Coyotes from being one of the best comic book issues I’ve seen this year. Also, Red’s journey into training to become a hunter felt a little contrived, almost messy. There was no explanation for it, but I’m just going to put that on the back burner for later issues. The gritty noir of Coyotes makes it a story that I would definitely go back to, and personally, the kind of story with a dark edge and complex narrative is something I find fascinating to experience. Therefore, as if it wasn’t obvious, I’ll definitely finish this comic book series. It wasn’t perfect but I’m Rating the initial story a 6! Truth be told, from here, the story could go downhill or through the roof, but I’ll be there for the ride!