Anathema Vol 1

How far will one woman go for the salvation of her beloved? Mercy Barlowe’s love for Sarah brings down Hell when her puritanical father discovers them together – and has his own daughter burnt at the stake.

But death is not the end. A monstrous cult of shapeshifters steal Sarah’s soul as part of its twisted plans to resurrect an ancient evil.

To defeat them, Mercy must take on a new form that will give her the power and fury needed to defeat the cult. She must become a werewolf!

First of all, I have to start this review off by admitting that I am incredibly biased when it comes to this subject matter.  Werewolves or shifters as they are becoming more popularly known, they bore me.  I apologize if that offends anyone.  I didn’t set out to be a lycanthrope hater and I in no way mean to disparage the work of anyone in particular.  I’ve set out over and over again to enjoy werewolf stories, or were-stories in general.  I’ve always failed.  Failed miserably.  Whether this is the fault of the material or some inner lack of sophistication I’ve never been able to ascertain.

So, given what I’ve already expressed about the subject of werewolves it would be safe to say I couldn’t approach Anathema with an open mind and that I’d probably have little good to say about.  Well that would be dead wrong.  I loved this story and read the whole graphic novel in one sitting.  This is, in fact, a marvelously plotted and rendered story that synthesizes the medium of the comic book in perfect harmony.

The plot itself marries a few tired concepts into something unique and quite beautiful.  I also liked the fact that Mercy had a female lover, not due to any personal preference or prejudice but just because it was a different spin on the old and worn out trope of revenging a love lost to some evil force.

On to the main character of Mercy, ironically named, because she really has none in pursuit of the redemption of Sarah’s soul.  She is ferocious, tenacious and completely without pity or remorse.  I love it when I see a character with this kind of fire.  Rachel Deering brings her to life in a very real way that will pluck at even the most hardened soul’s heart strings.  The dialogue in the story is a little sparse, but you won’t notice because Deering narrates the tale mostly through Mercy’s inner thoughts.  It’s intimate, it’s touching and it’s very real.  You love with her, you lose with her and you cry for her.

Then comes the art.  The art is breathtaking.  The art is stunning.  I can’t even compare it to anyone, because its just that rare to find a team that really dominates each page with memorable images that stay with the reader.   The panels are big, bold and rife with color that parallels the mood set by the writer.  Each one could be a print I would hang on my wall.  The team of Christopher Mooneyham and Wesley St. Claire shine in every page whether its the dark stills of the wolf, intimate love scenes between Sarah and Mercy or the heart rending opening when Sarah is burned alive.

If that wasn’t enough, there are dozens of pin ups in both color and black and white that will make you want to buy more than one issue, just so you can rip these out and decorate with them.  This is a stunning book that horror fans will treasure.  Do NOT miss this book when it hits the stores.  Mercy will find you.  Alone.  In the dark.  When you are alone.  And no one can hear.  And she’ll do what she does best.

For more information about Anathema or other great titles from Titan Comics visit Titan Comics.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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