Lone Wolf 2100,
Vol. 3: Pattern Storm

by Mike Kennedy,
Francisco & Ruiz Velasco
(Dark Horse, 2004)

Lone Wolf 2100 is a Dark Horse comic-book series featuring a futuristic version of the classic manga series Lone Wolf & Cub, in the same vein as Marvel's What If...? or DC's Elseworlds lines. This volume, Pattern Storm, contains issues 9-11 of the series, plus the one-shot, "The Red File."

Seeing as this is part of an ongoing series, perhaps reading Vols. 1 and 2 would better serve the stories and events of this trade. I would argue that a well-crafted story doesn't require previous reading but should have sufficient explanation in the context of the story. Either way, the basic story is a commonly used one: a strong, solitary hero is protecting a child. The premise is very sound, but the execution is a bit lacking. The first chapter contains snippets of information, obviously from the "The Red File." The second and third chapters take a basic storytelling approach and do it rather well. The fourth and final chapter, unfortunately, has a character's narration throughout that works against the story. It seems as if the intent were for the narration to thematically counter/oppose the events, but it really distracts from the action.

Another detracting element is the inconsistent artwork. While several of the splash pages and large panels feature wonderful art, there is little consistency of the characters' renditions. While the easy targets are the faces (admittedly a most difficult area for any artist), the stature of characters drastically varies, sometimes on the same page. For instance, look at the first few pages of Prescott's initial appearance in the second chapter -- his body goes from a sleek, muscular figure to a bulky, blocky shape to a stocky midget on the splash page.

This trade is a bit on the thin side, seeing as it contains only four issues. The story and artwork are decent but nothing spectacular. Unless you're a big fan of Lone Wolf & Cub and its various iterations, you can pass on getting Lone Wolf 2100: Pattern Storm.

- Rambles
written by C. Nathan Coyle
published 27 August 2005

Buy it from Amazon.com.