Review: Hound 2: Defender
Review by David Ferguson
Art by Paul Bolger
Written by Paul Bolger and Barry Devlin
Lettering by Dee Cunniffe
Book and Logo Design by Fran Walsh
As with the previous volume, I back this on Kickstarter so I have put my money where my mouth is in advance. My tier included a guest appearance which turned up to be much longer than I expected (one reason to pick the book up is to see what happens to me – it is very cool). I was particular interested in this volume as it covers an area of the Hound’s life that I hadn’t really seen covered in great detail (or I don’t remember as well) – his training on the Isle of Skye. What makes this section interesting is that it shows Cú Cullan free from the influence of the Morrigan and includes an international cast of characters. The team take some liberties in their adaptation when it comes to character designs. The characters would not have necessarily have looked like they do in the book but I like the designs (especially my character) as they retain an authentic feel and it is obvious that a lot of research has been done. My favourite aspect of the adaptation from a writing point of view is the dialogue. All too often adaptations of mythologies use a Shakespeare-esque pattern of speech that getting through, to me, feels like pulling teeth. The dialogue here has a modern feel. The book flows so much better due to this creative choice.
The story leads up to Cú Cullan’s final battle so there is a lot of action in this volume which is another aspect in how well it is paced. However, along with training and fighting, there is the political aspect with the Morrigan’s machinations and the relationship between Cú Cullan and Ferdia. The whole thing feels like the road to impending doom. The almost light hearted Isle of Skye scenes moving to darker scenes back in Ireland. The intrigue pulls you in as you pass through pages of exquisitely drawn (and designed pages). You can see the team has thought about everything and this volume lives up to the promise of volume one and includes a lot of the design aspects that I loved about that book. The splashes of red colour make the more gruesome scenes stand out and I really like the change to red on the cover. I could go into ridiculous detail on how much I like the design (down to the celtic design on the bull on the cover!) but I urge you to pick up the book and see for yourself. The Protector swept the 2015 ICN Awards and I think 2016 will be the year of The Defender.
Both volumes of the Hound are available in Dublin comic shops including The Big Bang, Sub City and Forbidden Planet or you can order them from the Hound website.