The first volume of Mike Wolfer’s Widow Archives, Flesh and Blood, owes a lot to H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau – a story of a mad scientist who likes to genetically manipulate animals and in this case, Wolfer throws people into the mix. That is not a bad thing either as he takes that premise and creates a story of his own with a lead character who starts off as not so much a villain, but a monster and in later volumes, one who eventually overcomes her monstrous inclinations, at least to an extent.
The story begins with a couple of federal agents being marooned on an island after an operation gone wrong and it is there that they meet Dr. Harrow and his daughter Emma. The two could not be further apart, the good doctor being somewhat shifty and peculiar while Emma is the personification of youth and beauty. While things seem somewhat strange on the island with the entire set-up giving off a weird vibe, the two men – Triggert and Jack, think nothing of it at first. Soon though, it becomes apparent that not all is right in this tropical paradise when a body turns up with signs pointing towards some kind of monster being on the island and to Emma herself as the murderer. As things spiral out of control, the two agents realise that they have to get off the island and they have to do it fast before they end up just like the bodies that have been turning up.
Even at this very early point in his career, Wolfer’s pencils looked great. Perhaps not quite as polished as his later efforts, but still quite good and when it comes to his leading lady and all is revealed, she stands out. As this book was originally released during the early stages of the ‘bad girl’ explosion, standing out among the pack would be incredibly important and she would do just that with a very unique design. The only thing that sets her back at this point is the fact that she has little personality, perhaps Wolfer just wanting to make a good monster comic and not thinking too far into the future at this stage in his life. Suffice it to say, she made an impact and would not only captivate, but stick around for many years to come through a few different publishers.
As for the script, Wolfer does a solid job on it, not exactly making a seminal work but a good dose of entertainment and a perfect introduction to this new world he has created. Though it is early in Emma’s ongoing chronicle, the seed is planted here for later exploits and it is to Wolfer’s credit that Flesh and Blood turns out as good as it does. The only criticism that can really be found in this erotic horror story is that the trade paperback and all the later volumes included are so small as well as being censored. Hopefully at a later date, Wolfer inserts all the cut scenes and puts out an omnibus-sized book for his fans who will surely double-dip. Aside from that, this volume is a good start to the series that anyone can pick up and enjoy.
4 out of 5