In 1971 Chicago, recovering from his beating at the hands of a vicious street gang, John Summer realizes there are some things worth living for, if only for a little while longer, and begins to enact the next step of his plan . . . is it redemption? Or the completion of something dark that began a quarter-century before at Harz?
Ever hovering at the edges of this growing story, Death finally makes an appearance, not as an avenging angel, but as a brooding, leering companion to both boy and man, guiding them all towards an as yet unknown fate in two different times.
With each issue, more facets of this darkly redemptive story are unveiled, and Keaton’s deft characterization is counterpointed by Herbst’s stark, black-and-white ink work. There is a nice blending of stark reality and the shades of grey that haunt our main character. Especially worthy of note is the loner Hartschen’s journey for supplies, set against the childhood tale told by Hans and Rudi’s father, as well as the metaphorical transformation into werewolves by the boys under Hans’ control.
At halfway through the series, a great number of the pieces are set in place. It’s now just a matter of seeing how smartly Keaton and Herbst move them around before it’s over.
“I hope there’s enough goodness and forgiveness to bring me back home to you. If there ain’t . . . I had it coming.”
VERDICT: FOUR out of FIVE soured childhood dreams