Pulled from the pages of Caitlin Kiernan’s award-winning fiction, Dancy Flammarion makes the leap from prose to graphic novel in one chilling movement, now captured in Dark Horse’s new trade, Alabaster: Wolves.
Guided by her guardian angel, Dancy travels the backroads of the haunted deep South, fighting evil where she comes across it. But, before you think this is some pale, Buffy the Vampire Slayer pastiche, Dancy is nobody’s innocent poppet. A slender, albino waif of a girl, under a brooding South Carolina sky, Dancy makes hard, desperate choices as she makes her way through a cursed, southern town and is forced to live with the circumstances, even if death is the easier alternative.
Befriended by a talking raven and the ghost of one of her victims, Dancy finds her hard-won faith constantly tested by foes both external and internal. Fighting werewolves and her own beliefs, finding strength in her religious upbringing, Dancy is a hardscrabble hero, and, as we see, her angel may not be the benevolent guide we think. And, Dancy’s angel is not the pure, white being of light and goodness so often portrayed, not even as glossily metrosexual as seen in the Hellblazer books or TV’s Supernatural.
No, as realized by Steve Lieber’s chilling pencils, Dancy’s guardian is an angel of old, vengeful, and hulking, four-faced and screaming, a tempestuous child-god with a flaming sword, surrounded by the scents of fire and fury. In page after page of his darkly evocative artwork, Dancy stands out against the bleakness of her surroundings and slowly learns that while the light may be a powerful weapon, Death rides a pale horse, as well.
Containing five issues of the Wolves storyline, the trade also includes a short piece (“Shelter”) about Dancy’s encounter with a troll named Ignatius under a bridge on a rainy night in Georgia. (Yeah, I went there.) If you’re a fan of dark fantasy or girl power, you’d be hard-pressed to find another piece as interesting as the works collected here.
(Since her initial appearance in Kiernan’s second novel, Threshold (2001), Dancy has made several more appearances in short story form, ultimately being collected into one volume, illustrated by Ted Naifeh.)