In the current comic climate, sometimes it can seem like there are too many series and not enough time. If you don’t know how the direct market works, a short way to explain it is: pre-orders are everything. Comic stores order their stock of single issues and trades long before the date they’re set to be released, and the way they know how many to order depends on how many subscribers/customers have added the series to their subscription or put in pre-orders for the series. So if there are little to no pre-orders, no word of mouth hype, little promotion by the publisher, and the title doesn’t boast well known creators, awesome series like Coyotes can fall by the wayside in single issues.
Coyotes is about a southern border town where werewolves have taken over and caused hundreds of girls and women to go missing. The cops look the other way because they’re on the payroll of Adlin, a weapons manufacturer, and Adlin would rather exploit the coyote problem than protect the girls in the town. This leads to a group of women called the Victorias to take matters into their own hands. The main character, Red’s, sister was killed by the werewolves, and she joins the Victorias in hopes of avenging her sister, and teams up with a well meaning cop named Coffey to solve the coyote problem once and for all.
This first volume blew me away with what a tight and affecting story it told. There are some plot points that don’t quite connect easily when you’re reading through, but when I thought about it afterwards, and re-read some parts, I was able to figure it out with little problem. The storytelling here is very visceral, which the art complements well. It’s a revenge story more or less, and it doesn’t really stray from the typical story components for the genre, but when it’s done so well, you can’t really complain. You can tell Sean Lewis is a playwright from the way the story is structured. I’m not sure if this series will get more issues (it definitely should if anyone at Image is reading this), but the story told in this volume had a great arc, with a beginning, middle, and end that made the read feel satisfying. I appreciate this in a comic, because often now creators get so caught up in the long-form story their telling that it can become frustrating to keep up issue by issue, or even volume by volume, and therefore can make you want to wait until the comic is finished to read it all.
Caitlin Yarsky’s art is very unique, and at first I didn’t know if it was the best fit for this particular story, but in the end she went above and beyond in this volume. Her art is cartoony, with a great penchant for the macabre and gory, without losing the heart of the art itself. My favorite part of her art, and this perhaps applies to Lewis’ scripting as well, was the ability to portray symbolic visuals within the page spreads. The lettering was also done very nicely. I liked the different borders to the character’s dialogue, especially The Duchess’ dialogue boxes, and the hand lettering when the coyotes spoke. This is a very special looking comic, and you can tell there was a lot of care put into making it that way.
Coyotes has a lot to offer, and I can only hope we will get more of it. If we don’t, then this volume was written in such a way that, while there are dangling plot threads, none of it feels frustrating. I’m more than happy to have this wonderfully satisfying volume on my bookshelf. With thoughtful storytelling, from both writing and art perspectives, that looks to empower women and weave a new type of southwestern folklore, Coyotes gets the job done tenfold.