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‘Coyotes’ offers a unique tale with ties to feminism, immigration

While I have myself a regular haunt in Williamsport’s Isle of Comics, I do enjoy checking out other shops when I’m out and about on adventures. There’s always something exhilarating about casing a new joint: one day I’d like to open my own place, and seeing the myriad of different ways my favorite medium is shilled always gets the gears turning. Of course, I’m also looking to buy something, too.

The folks at Haven for Heroes in Port Jervis, New York, was a nice end-of-trip stop this summer. Got me some cheap back issues (three for $1!) the new “X-Men” series, and some other neat odds and ends as well. While I’m never exactly looking for anything in particular — I have my local for that — the staff kept throwing titles my way to see what stuck.

One thing they kept harping on was this trade of “Coyotes” from Image with story by Sean Lewis and art by Caitlin Yarsky. I flipped through the pages as they talked it up, but the genuine enthusiasm for the book made it hard to deny even though they only had the second volume in stock. I wanted to read this as much as they were excited to talk about it. And now I want to tell you about it, too.

Coyotes roam the border town of the City of Lost Girls, sniffing out their next victim. New to the force, Frank Coffey is looking for the source of the murders and missings when he finds one lone girl in the midst of all the action. And the culprit? Would you believe…werewolves?

“Coyotes” is part fairy tale, part horror action flick, and part bedtime story. Yet it’s one you have to constantly remind yourself it isn’t true, because this could never happen, right? The spin on this tale is disturbingly original, and the ties to feminism, immigration, and the #metoo movement tell a haunting story about the skins we wear.

Lewis grants the desert a sense of place so foreboding that it shakes the foundations of the beauty that could be there, but darkens as you progress deeper into the story. There are neat little interludes at the end of every issue that focus on a character, moving the story along in such a way that is surprising, yet natural.

Yarsky’s art cannot be contained here. Images jump off the pages and in between panels, smoke is a great storytelling device, and color and line work are impeccable. Font and speech bubbles are top-notch, most notably those of coyotes and the Duchess.

“Coyotes” is now available in trade paperback from Image Comics, volume No. 1 at their introductory rate of $9.99.

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