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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fearful Hunter review by Sean McGrath

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Let’s the basics out of the way first: Jon Macy’s art in “Fearful Hunter” is superlative. His “Teleny & Camille” was great, but he has (as he should) gotten stronger, more Macyesque imagery on the page. Boffo. And basic number two: the erotic charge of the story is part of the story and not the only story or, worse, filler to bring the book to an even number of pages. I read comics for the stories; I read to get off. Macy has kindly brought two of my hobbies together. Again, well done.

But here’s what I really love: Macy has created intriguing characters in the couple of Oisin and Byron, two men who in the real world I would probably start a betting pool over how long and in what way their relationship would implode. Yes, I know this makes me a horrible person. Still, I found myself pulling for these two to come and stay together.

Oisin is a druid apprentice, taught by the older Tavius, who is full of plots and snares like Old Nick himself. Oisin wants to be a druid, but is distracted by what he is told he cannot have: a life involving other people. Magic requires that he be dedicated only to his work of safeguarding the Natural World. Still, he is fascinated by the wolfboy Byron, and is in earnest to heal Byron’s “sad heart”. Because that always ends well.

Byron, the wolf-boy, is magickal, hot, and as sensitive as a ficus. If I knew someone like this, I would definitely call him on a lonely Friday night after a contempt-filled watching of “Smallville”, but then shuffle him out the door after the deed was done and before I could hear how painful and difficult his week had been (which, yes, I know makes me a horrible person). Byron’s sensitivity, however, isn’t from the oh-so-common “my man done me wrong” syndrome that I’m certain anyone reading this article can relate to. Since he mates for life, there’s never been an emotionally stunted, abusive ex that swims in his subconscious, telling him that he’s worthless. He is simply fearful. And emo. So. So. SO emo. Which makes me wonder what it is that Oisin sees in him, or, more importantly, what Macy sees in him (he is, after all, the eponymous character). Of course, not every love story (and this is a love story) has to be peopled with noble characters of deep-set virtue who are not only self-aware and pithy at an early age, but who have a love like no man or woman has ever know handed to them for no better reason than Destiny has declared they be the Luke and Laura of their age. Flaws like Byron’s (and Oisin’s for that matter) make their story far more worthy a read, mostly because there is no guarantee here that love will conquer all, despite what Shea, the werefox, promises.

What I enjoyed most about “Fearful Hunter” is the world Macy created to house his people and their stories. Like Charles de Lint’s urban fantasies, our and the sidhe world aren’t countless dimensions apart, but literally right next door to each other. Neighbors, classmates, acquaintances could be fey and one would never know. Tavius and Oisin’s keep is a cavish affair, deep in the forest and underground, where they practice magic that should light them up like a Fukushima crab to even non-magical folk. Yet they are practically unknown to the nearby townies. There is a sidhe bar that is in plain sight of every slack-jeaned punk within a hundred miles (have I mentioned the care with which Macy draws men’s asses?) hangs out in with the Cousins that is just part of the fabric of this world. No walls or wardrobes separate Humans from the Others. In fact, it seems that only one’s unwillingness to see what is right there in plain sight is what keeps these peoples apart.

Jon Macy’s “Fearful Hunter” series comes highly recommended.

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