REVIEW: JENNIFER WILDE: THE WILDE HUNT

Jennifer Wilde Wilde Hunt-01Review by David Ferguson

Written by Karen Mahoney
Art by Stephen Downey

This is a one-shot which takes place just after the first Jennifer Wilde series. Jennifer has decided that a change of scenary is in order and she, along with Oscar, visit the West of Ireland. This story is different kind of story to the first series but still fits comfortably in the world created by Maura McHugh and Stephen Downey. Stepping in to do the writing chores on this issue is YA urban fantasy writer Karen Mahoney. Despite the change, the series still has the same feel and the characters have the same “voices”. Mahoney gives the story extra pathos by using the real life experiences of Oscar Wilde to connect him closely to plot. There is a lovely use of works by Yeats and Wilde that add an extra depth. I found the poem by Wilde even more touching after reading the story. All this and you’d be forgiven for being surprised that this is Karen Mahoney’s first comic book outing.

Her first venture was no doubt aided by the return of series artist Stephen Downey. Downey does a superb job of capturing the scenary that Wilde called the “most romantic scenary in Ireland”. He manages to do this without distracting the reader from the characters and storytelling. He seems to be growing in confidence and one two page splash was reminisicint of JH Williams’ work in Promethea as Downey structures the panels to carry the reader’s eyes on a journey that matches the journey being portrayed in the story. The change in pencils and panel borders for the dream sequence and flash back sequences were also great choices. The dream sequence was immediately obvious without having to read a word. I mentioned the touching poem by Oscar Wilde. It was made even more touching thanks to the expression Downey captures on Wilde’s face.

This a beautiful book that gives the reader a remarkable view of the Irish countryside while telling a story an old Irish folktale. It does a great job of showing what Ireland has to offer both from a scenic and literary standpoint.