Writer: Darren Dare
Illustrator: Carlos Trigo
Colorist: Hannah Templer
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
WHAT IS IT?
The queer supernatural spy thriller you didn't know you needed – and you definitely do.
Think An American Werewolf in London meets Runaways meets The Bourne Identity.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
A typical meet-cute starring Leo (lovable, even-tempered) and James (nerdy, adorable) goes sideways when it's revealed that James is the target and Leo's the assassin sent to kill him and his family.
It goes even more sideways when Leo and his "family" aren't exactly after James and his, uh, pack for run-of-the-mill reasons.
The pacing. Dare kicks us in the teeth with a tense first page and spools out the romance in measured flashbacks. It's a structural trope, yes, but used well in this case and it's especially effective in a first issue when done correctly. We're left with a good cliffhanger and a lot of questions to keep us eager for the next issue.
The relationship. Instead of aiming for sensationalized queerbaiting, Leo develops real feelings for James. James, in turn, is slightly private for a reason, not because he's a jerk. Neither of them feel particularly emotionally stunted beyond natural circumstances of their upbringings. There's no trauma for the sake of drama shoehorned into Silver Fox, and so you can do what you should do: sit back and enjoy the story.
The dialogue. As much as I personally do not like internet or nerd slang, hearing it out of James's mouth is endearing and does what it should: establish his character. Leo's perpetually amused and in-control responses contrast James's cute flailing, and the two feel authentic just a few pages in.
The style. Trigo's angular cartooning gives way to gentle rounding and softness when it needs to, and Leo and James's height and builds contrast well. They're cute and accessible without feeling silly.
The layouts. Trigo uses a lot of strips of three panels early on, which establish a rhythm and balance as we tick forward through the early days of James and Leo getting to know one another. We start to get a little creative when Leo drives the car off the road and the chase scene intensifies – two regular panels give way to a canted strip that "drops" an inset into the full-bleed image below. Small touches like this help with pacing and allow Trigo to play with detail and some nice thick action lines.
The color palette. Templer goes for a limited, primary color palette that intensifies as the book picks up. The contrast means the high spots read as high, while some of the gentler moments between Leo and James get space to breathe because of the unity and subtlety Templer brings to the page.
The lettering. Esposito chooses a bubblier font and regular balloons to complement Trigo's style and the book's tone. Sound effects add a little texture and onomatopoetic delight, as in the phone vibration or the small "KLK!" of the seatbelt before Leo yanks James out of the car.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Some of the action. With a limited color palette and stylized cartooning comes the challenge of clarity. Getting precision movement across can be difficult. Some of the action sequences feel a little jarring, and it can be difficult to tell precisely what's going on panel-to-panel. The end result is fine – we know it's a fight, and we know someone gets chopped in half – but the progression on the page is a bit bewildering at times and requires us to slow down a little when we should be moving faster.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If you like tense spy dramas with a supernatural twist, Silver Fox is for you.
If you like good cartooning that doesn't sacrifice sweetness for slickness, Silver Fox is for you.
If you like authentic queer narratives with real emotion and earned melodrama AND a decent sense of humor, Silver Fox is for you.
If you just want to read a fun thriller that entertains without talking down to you, Silver Fox is for you.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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