Underworld Meets The Howling, By Way Of Kill Bill – Coyotes Vol. 1 TPB

by Brendan M. Allen

Women are going missing in the City of Lost Girls, a border town in the desert. Officer Frank Coffey is trying to get to the bottom of this when he meets Red, a 13-year-old girl with a katana blade and a mission: murder the Werewolves stalking the border and picking women off one by one. When it’s discovered that the Wolves are the men of these villages, both Red and Officer Coffey are thrown together in a thriller of mythic proportions with the lives of their friends and loved ones in the balance. Kill Bill meets The Howling in this epic by creators SEAN LEWIS and CAITLIN YARSKY.

Coyotes leads off with a horrific scene. Twenty three bodies strewn about in various stages of dismemberment. “Red,” apparently the sole survivor, standing stoically in the middle of the mess. We’re told this is The City of Lost Girls as we’re shown countless red crosses staked into the sand.
This is Coffey’s first case since arriving at the precinct. He never asked for this transfer. He was pushed out of his old job after finding himself on the wrong end of a political nightmare. Now he’s here, in the middle of this hellhole, staring down a mute child who apparently wasted nearly two dozen grown ass men. Tracking so far? Good.

Sean Lewis demands your attention straight off, then doesn’t let it go. He plays with the timeline quite a bit, showing the punchline up front and then telling the morbid joke after. The non-linear pacing plays well, adding a level of tension that would have been difficult to achieve otherwise. There’s also this third person/first person thing he uses for much of the exposition. The result is a very intimate perspective as the whole twisted, bloody fairy tale unfolds.
Caitlin Yarsky knocked this thing straight out of the park. Yarsky’s landscapes and muted, earthy palette scream “border town,” but are generic enough they could really be anywhere from San Diego to Laredo. Her characters are distinctive and memorable. The kids look like kids, and that’s really, really important. So many times kids get drawn like little adults. Not here. These are kids. Kids who have to do some really screwed up things to survive. This story absolutely would not play without Yarsky’s realistic visual depiction of innocence lost.

There are so many layers to this first arc of Coyotes, it’s easy to completely immerse yourself in the story. The lycanthrope mythology blends ridiculously well with themes of misogyny, mystery, and fantasy, but if you just want to see a badass little ninja girl slaying monsters, there’s loads of that as well.

Coyotes Vol 1 TPB collects chapters 1-4, published by Image Comics, releases on 11 April 2018. Story by Sean Lewis, art by Caitlin Yarsky.

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