Originally posted on 03/04/2011 on cxPulp.com. Read and comment on this review here!

Reviewer: Craig Reade
Quick Rating: Makes me miss the days when Teen Titans was good.
Title: Horror Business Part One of Five

Scott loses his job in Cleveland’s Animal Control Department, and his new job is a little more unusual than he expects.

Written by: Stephan Nilson
Pencils by: Karl Waller
Color by: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Ink by: Rick Bonilla
Letters by: Charles Pritchett
Cover by: Karl Waller, Ron Riley, and Rick Bonilla
Publisher: IDW (Digital), Frozen Beach Studios

The story starts off with a quick sequence that finds a typical “damsel in distress” being chased down by a trio of thugs who looking to rob her (perhaps worse?). She is momentarily saved by an unseen force, but before she can finish breathing that sigh of relief, her savior turns on her as well. We then move to our protagonist’s story, and you quickly put two and two together and realize that this story is going to be about dog catchers who capture werewolves. Ok – that’s something unique. The Pound is something of a slow starter, but off the bat I have to say that Nilson does a pretty good job of keeping your interest through a somewhat dry portion of this story.

A lot of time is spent introducing Scott, his family, and Howie – and teaching us a bit about who our pair of protagonists are before they decide to go into business together. We find that Scott is a hardworking, old fashioned kind of guy who is too proud to take charity (but, for some reason has no trouble riding on unemployment for a while… not sure what that is about). Howie’s young and a little naive, but insightful and energetic to take a piece of advice and learn the correct lesson from it – even if it wasn’t the lesson intended. The two look like they will share an interesting dynamic as this story progresses. While I would have preferred a little less time spent on character introduction, I have to admit in the end that Nilson didn’t waste the time. Not only do we know who these guys are, but they are more than generic ex-Dogcatchers. That’s going to make the rest of this series much easier to read. The team is hoping to turn this concept into a “Series of Mini-Series” if this one does well. If they are successful, the groundwork laid out in this issue will be that much more important.

The art is strong overall. The characters are all distinct and unique, and Waller does an outstanding job keeping their looks consistent. He also isn’t afraid to toy with perspective a little bit – a few scenes appear “shot” from above or askew in effective ways. Mechanically the art is great – he can draw different characters in different situations from different angles, and have them look as they are supposed to. The “storytelling” aspect of the art shows occasional flaws – particularly on action scenes or panels that are very crowded. At these times you sometimes find yourself having to pause a moment and analyze what is going on, deciphering the art in the panel based on the dialogue, and what you think should be happening based on the panels before and after. It’s a minor issue – and not representative of all the work in the issue, but it stuck out enough that I felt I needed to point it out. Besides that minor quibble, the book has an outstanding look. It’s easy on the eyes and the style is appropriate to the story’s feel. The art contributes to the story in a meaningful way, which means it has done its job.

The Pound is going to start off as a part of IDW‘s Digital Storefront, with the first issue set for a March 30th release. The future of comics in the new digital age is a common topic of debate, but we are now starting to see some of that future become a reality. Independent comics could benefit a great deal from the advanced medium, so it will be very interesting to watch how titles like The Pound do. IDW’s Digital Storefront is available on iTunes, if you’d like to check this one out on its release, and the series will be collected and printed for a release on August 31st, 2011.

The Pound #1 was a fun read – and I anticipate future issues will be a nice blend of horror and comedy. I’m looking forward to checking out the second issue.

Story:
3.5/5 Stars

Art:
3.5/5 Stars

Overall:
3.5/5 Stars

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