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First Look at IDW’s THE POUND (comic review)

Frozen Beach Studios announces its first creator owned property with IDW called The Pound.

The book is a horror/comedy and follows the adventures of some Cleveland, Ohio animal control guys and, apparently, werewolves. The book is written by Stephan Nilson and features art by Karl Waller.

Nilson has been writing for comics since 2001 on such titles Atomik Mike for Alias Entertainment and helped create Armor X for Image.

His latest efforts have been with IDW, both The Pound and an OGN co-written with Scott Thompson (from The Kids in the Hall), Husk: The Hollow Planet. Karl Waller’s art has mostly been featured in RPG’s, although he has done comic work for Eclipse, Dark Horse, Avatar, and both Marvel and DC.

The Pound’s first issue introduces a five-part arc called, “Horror Business”.

The story opens with a relatively good action sequence.

A woman in a t-shirt and short skirt is being chased down a dark alley by three stereotypical “young thugs” wearing jackets and baseball hats. The tension mounts as the woman trips and the thugs move in to do more than just rob her. The woman is saved from this fate by an unseen force, who upon the “reveal” do not turn out to be her saviors at all. The writing in this sequence is good. It is fast paced and relatively believable but only insofar as it exists in the confines of the stereotypes presented. The art gets a little confusing in parts, but is overall strong and well-defined.

The rest of the comic is all about introducing the main characters.

The reader gets to know Scott Allison and his family through page after page of dialogue with little to no action.

Once again, Nilson relies heavily on stereotypes for characterization, but Scott is easy to root for and is a likeable sort. Scott has been laid off from his job at the Animal Control Office, but has a real positive attitude about it. His co-worker, Howie, does not take the news as well. Scott encourages Howie, Howie takes Scott’s advice, and suddenly (after a rather strange scene involving the vice-principal of the local school), Scott and Howie start their own Animal Control business.

From there we go to a Ghostbusters meets Vertigo Comics’ The Exterminators meets IDW’s own Welcome to Hoxford mashup. This is a horror/comedy, after all, so why not steal from some of the best? Unfortunately the comparison to these much better works only helps you realize how much The Pound is lacking.

The writing flows ok, and the art is serviceable, but no real new ground is being broken by The Pound. The issue ends with a bit of a cliff-hanger and the promise that “Next Issue: Things Get Weirder”. For the sake of the success of the book, I hope it fulfills this promise and starts taking the book to either some uncharted territory or tries to redefine a story idea that’s already been done quite well before.

It’s my understanding that this is comic is going to be part of IDW’s Digital Storefront offering and will be available March 30th.

Note: A few facts in the opening have been corrected since originally posted.

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