Every month, Ricky must resort to desperate measures to protect his younger brother Eddie, who transforms into an unstoppable werewolf. Eddie, who has learning disabilities, is coming to terms with his curse and beginning to realise that he’s not just a danger to himself, but to everyone else – especially his brother.
Silver Skin is the first comic by writer Anthony Cleveland, and he drags werewolf mythology into the modern era. Cleveland clearly loves horror stories and the old tropes of silver bullets and the full moon are lovingly presented, but are coupled with the modern horrors of unrestrained capitalism of those who would seek to profit from Eddie’s ever regenerating pelt. Cleveland also pulls in other interesting horror elements, with a pair of ghosts which only Eddie can see, who provide the reader with some brief narration and, with their warnings of the werewolf’s true destructive power, function as a cross between Banquo’s Ghost and the Muppet’s Statler and Waldorf.
Presenting a character with learning disabilities can be a difficult balance and many depictions can feel exploitative or just cringingly inappropriate. The depiction of Eddie in Silver Skin is well handled. He’s a fully developed character with his own hopes and fears, who just happens to have some difficulties sometimes. It’s clear that Eddie isn’t a victim of anything but lycanthropy, and perhaps understand the hopelessness of his situation to a far greater extend than Ricky, who believes that he can prevent things from getting out of hand despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Art, by Tanmoy Das, is well presented, with character’s emotions clear to see as they struggle with the impossible situation of protecting the world from Eddie’s monstrous potential. However, it feels a little functional, with simple and straightforward layouts. Most of the scenes here involve discussions between the main characters rather than action, and these could do with a little more variation. The story spends time on the small details and difficulties of practically managing the curse of lycanthropy, which underline the desperation but slows things down and takes up precious pages. There are however some lovely panels of stiller moments in which the characters take time to contemplate their problems, with a nice use of colour throughout.
Silver Skin is an interesting story, very well told. This opening issue feels a little restricted, with only a handful of scenes and limited developments, but it provides an extremely decent set up to what looks like it could be an exciting tale. By the end of this issue, we know and care about these characters. The action which we are teased with in the prologue sadly doesn’t develop here, but it looks like will be launched into with abandon in the next issue.
More information on Silver Skin issue 0 can be found at www.silverskincomic.com