The Fox lands at Dark Circle Comics, a proper fit for the imprint that seems to know exactly how to update the noir genre. “The Fox” #1, the opening chapter of “Fox Hunt,” is a great introduction to Ted’s world and a solid blend of superhero and noir storytelling. Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid use elements of a great pulp story and smash them into the world of a guy who sneaks around and attracts weirdness wherever he goes.
The book works in both worlds, striking a roguish tone that meshes well with the concept of the character. In the backmatter, the Fox is described as a guy who will roll with the punches, recognize life is strange and get to work. It’s a refreshing tone, similar to Waid’s work on “Daredevil.” Ted is capable and a bit headstrong but never lets a weird situation stop him from taking care of business. There’s a Golden Age vibe in his beliefs and values, something that feels beautifully old school.
Haspiel’s legendary cartooning also works for both genres, adding a bit of lightheartedness to the darker story elements, not unlike Bruce Timm’s work on “Batman: The Animated Series.” It brings the more outrageous aspects of the story back down to Earth, making it believable that a guy of Ted’s ability could take on the supernatural. Any scene with the Fox is a highlight; the minimal design works well under his pencil.
Readers get a feel for how the series works before the big story kicks into high gear. It’s a good use of the first issue; the team knows how to deliver the story while moving forward. Haspiel uses mostly grid layouts, but all the pages flow well and deliver the action, reminiscent of Michael Avon Oeming’s “Powers” work. The promotional posters hint at far more sinister happenings for this series and, if that is what will be happening, readers aren’t really clued in on that just yet. For now, it’s simply a lighthearted pulp with a fun take on a hero, but it’s still a great read.
Dark Circle Comics has another great property with an established fanbase in “The Fox.” The imprint has had a patient, guiding eye over its previous launches, but it has shown that the editors understand quality. They seem to know how to bring out great work from their creators and these vets give them a hit. They are definitely casting a diverse net with books like “The Fox” and “The Black Hood,” both of which already give readers a variety of story types to choose from. Fans of the Skybound imprint, grounded heroics or comics that revel in the medium will want to check out “The Fox” #1.