Review - Tracker #1

Well folks, ever since we did a preview of Tracker a few months back, this is a comic I’ve been looking forward to from Top Cow by Jonathan Lincoln and Francis Tsai. There is a nice mix of different elements here. We have the mysterious criminal figure that leaves carnage in his wake. We have a cop who is the only survivor on a bus of people that lie mostly in pieces. Said cop seems to miraculously recover from some VERY serious injuries overnight. Finally, while we haven’t seen them yet, the cover of issue #1 would certainly confirm that we have werewolves…perhaps even a cop werewolf. So, tired of zombies? Had your fill of vampires? Need a good fix of another classic archetype villain set in modern times with a twist? I suspect Tracker #1 will help you fill that void in your life. Read on for more… We open at a familiar scene from the preview, a bus accident with the windows ominously colored red. Agent Jezebel Kendall is a special agent with the FBI who has been called onto the scene. These types of situations seem to be her specialty, and unlike a normal person (even I cringed a little at the sheer gore of the scene) she craves this type of case. It is the work of a criminal the Agent Kendall calls “Herod” who leaves scratch marks like some kind of animal behind instead of fingerprints. Her partner, Agent O’Roark is supposed to be handling the case but was unreachable. It looks like we’ve found out why…he’s unconscious on the bus. In the hospital Alex O’Roark awakes to find a rather interesting doctor questioning him. While the nametag says Julian Johnson, the questions are suspicious and Alex doesn’t like it. Apparently Alex arrives at the hospital DOA with three spinal fractures, a broken arm, only four good ribs, and 2.5 pints of blood in his whole body. His heart started beating on the autopsy table. The man who isn’t a doctor at the hospital is Cyril Tucker, and he gives Alex a card with “Handel” and a phone number written on it for when he remembers what happened. At this moment his girlfriend Tory breaks into the room out of concern along with a horde of reporters. Back at headquarters Alex’s partner Jezebel is fending off the questions of a special ops member of the force named Grant. Clearly Alex and Grant don’t get along that well and I’m sure we’ll learn more about that. The chief informs the trio that they’ll be working together on the Herod case. Alex tries to remember what happened but all he sees is a wolf-like face when he enters the bus. He also crushed the metal arm of a chair while he tried to remember…good times. Meanwhile back at the hospital a man is questioning a witness who survived the attack. As she describes the terror of the inhuman scene, the reporter looks up and smiles with a mouth that’s too wide, and fingers and nails that suddenly grow into razor sharp weapons. Looks like Alex and Jezebel’s hunch that Herod was sticking around is correct as no one will ever question her again. In another hint that Alex is more then he seems, he smells Herod in the ventilation system and managed to track him down, running on a broken leg. As they track him to a storage room they come to a window three stories up and see that he has already gotten down. Alex jumps while he partner screams in disbelief. He hits the ground cracking the cement but it up and running immediately, following the scent. Alex comes to a drawbridge that is up and is stopped, thinking that he let the guy get away. Back home Alex and Tory get into a fight and he has to leave. Alex feels that something is changing within him and he tries to contact Cyril Tucker, but only gets an answering machine. At the bar he sees some punks are about to cut up a girl in the alley. Alex decides not to go with the cop angle and instead goes looking for a fight. As he gets beaten down, a sudden transformation happens: Alex unleashes and is changed. His facial features distort, fingers and claws enlarge, and ladies and gentlemen the Tracker Werewolf is seen in all its glory. I’m sure there will be repercussions to his actions, but for now Alex is cutting loose, let’s hope he doesn’t kill someone. This book was everything I’d hoped it would be. The werewolves are not friendly; they inspire terror whether they are buried in good characters or bad. The story does an excellent job showing Alex’s struggle with the changes within him. They are causing a rift between him and a girlfriend that he loves, and will inevitably change the way people at work and the public view him. Will he get the Witchblade treatment and be left alone because he gets the job done? I’m not sure that is possible unless he can learn to control his impulses while in werewolf form. The artwork falls somewhere between ultra realistic and cartoonish and it works perfectly with this comic. It has a dark overall feel and yet uses a wide range of colors to accent scenes. Some scenes look almost like a cel-shaded game (think Borderlands if you’d like a recent reference). I’m excited to see where this goes. If you like monster stories, and are down for a little gore mixed in with a very promising story, check Tracker by Top Cow out in stores.