If your friends are like mine, you’d have to live in a sensory deprivation tank not to know who Harry Dresden is—even friends of mine who don’t know each other were all telling me I should be reading Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books. It was a little odd honestly. But maybe I’m just the type of person who attracts Dresden fanatics as friends and you’re not. If so, the most recent of the Dresden Files comics, “War Cry,” might be the perfect way for you to meet Harry.
I’ve only read the first book in the series so far, and apparently “War Cry” takes place after book 7, but it’s a good standalone and I think is engaging even for readers without detailed knowledge about Dresden. Basically all you need to know is that Harry is a wizard, and that the good-guy wizards (the White Council) are currently at war with bad-guy vampires (the Red Court), and it’s not looking good for the wizards. In fact, it’s looking so bad for the wizards that they’ve called on Harry’s help as kind of last resort, since he’s generally considered a loose cannon. He’s got a team of young wizards at his side, newbies at battle, and so far in “War Cry,” they’ve been tasked with holding off the vampires that are surrounding a house full of humans that the White Court deems worth protecting—they arrived just as night was falling. At the end of issue #2, the wizards had just discovered that the basement of the house contained the supernatural equivalent of a WMD—a shoggoth—that will eat all living things. And now they have to protect it from the Red Court. Needless to say, Harry and crew are in a very, very dark and nearly hopeless place in issue #3.
My main problem with the series thus far is the pacing; the first two issues seemed very slow to me (seriously, only a few hours have passed since Harry and his crew arrived, and it took two issues to get to this point). #3 moves a bit faster while tracking the large cast of characters and how badly things are going for the good guys, but it still feels like we should be further along in story at the midpoint of a five issue run. Other than that, I’m enjoying the run. Harry Dresden is a really engaging character, and his young cohorts are interesting in their own right. There’s a good twist at the end of the issue, and I’m interested to see how it plays into the storyline. I’m also digging the vibrancy of the artwork, particularly in the fight scenes.
I give the first two issues of the series 3 out of 5 Lightning Bolts, and this issue 3.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts as the story picks up some much-needed speed.
DRESDEN FILES-WAR CRY #3
Writers: Jim Butcher & Mark Powers
Pencils: Carlos Gomez
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Cover: Stjepan Sejic
Release Date: 8/6/14