Dark Horse‘s The Lonesome Hunters continues to deliver quality character driven drama and mysterious fantasy horror as Howard and Lupe try to get the magpies off their back for good.
Whilst in the very first issue we got a good, detailed origin for Howard and his mystical sword, we never really got to know who Lupe is, beyond getting vague hints at the kind of person that she is and her family situation. This issue really throws back the curtain on her character, however, and gives us our best look at her yet.
The book opens with a small flashback, where she talks about the loss of her mother, and how she and her father grieved for her together. Unfortunately, Lupe was due to live through more tragedy, and lost her father soon afterwards, but this time she had no people to help her through this. Placed with a foster family whilst she was waiting to live with her uncle, Lupe was left to deal with her grief and her loss alone. And now she’s lost her uncle; the only family that she had left.
This makes it completely understandable why she’d leave the safety of Tina’s house to head back into a potentially deadly situation to help Howard. And whilst at first it might appear that she’s doing this as some form of vengeance, that she might be trying to make the magpies pay for her uncle’s death, it becomes clearer that it’s because she has no one left in her life, and that the only person around now who has shown her any kindness and care in recent years; and that she’s afraid that now that her family has completely gone she’ll be left all alone.
And despite the age difference between the two of them, despite hardly knowing each other, we get to see the beginning of a very real friendship beginning to form between Lupe and Howard. The scene where she’s going into huge detail about her favourite show, Mecha-Sabre Gemini, going so far as to be talking about characters and plot points in the third season, and Howard is engaging with her, asking questions and looking genuinely interested is an incredibly sweet moment. You can really believe that they’re already caring about each other.
This issue isn’t just about bonding and friendship, however, as Howard also has to deal with a host of vicious magpies and their queen being after them for ‘stealing’ the watch. The book does give us more information on the magpies and the general world of the weird that’s going on, and whilst it is interesting I’m eager to understand it more. I think that there needs to be a moment where she and Howard sit down and talk about what’s going on and the wider world of the supernatural so that we, and Lupe, and get caught up. As it is, it’s interesting and intriguing, but it’s not exactly clear what the stakes are, and what else might be going on in this world.
The art on the issue, provided by the writer Tyler Crook, is wonderful, and has this strange kind of dirty beauty to it. There’s not really much to wow you, the environments are plain, normal looking places, and the colour scheme is drab browns and colours that most people would say are grimy, but it really works for the book. The series has a great visual style that works for the setting and the story, one that feels unique to The Lonesome Hunters.
Whilst this series is getting close to the end of its initial four part run, it has been announced that it will be returning with more issues in the future, and hopefully Crook will get the chance to expand this world and these characters in new and interesting directions. But for now, this issue is a strong third part that really helps to get you invested in the characters, and ends with a cliffhanger that sets up for what’s sure to be a big finale.
The Lonesome Hunters is out now from Dark Horse.