LEGENDS FROM DARKWOOD: The Unicorn Hunters

Christopher Reid, Author, John Kantz, Illustrator . Antarctic Press/Pocket Manga $9.99 (142p) ISBN 978-1-932453-49-2

A fractured fairy tale for adults, this American manga is a dark satire on fantasy conventions. Reid and Kantz's story is set in Unicorntown, a place that's made its fortune as the only known source for unicorn flesh, a great delicacy. The secret to its trade is Raynd, the unicorn hunter, who has discovered that just because she's a virgin who is able to lure unicorns to their fate doesn't mean she can't be a savage mercenary, too. Raynd was raised by Moore, the businessman who runs the town's unicorn business. Appalled by Raynd's trade, Moore's daughter, Rose, sets out to stop Raynd by hiring a bounty hunter. Despite Rose's lofty ambitions, she occupies the same moral low ground as most of the other characters. These include a man-eating unicorn who has made a pact with the devil, a giant talking shar-pei and an anthropomorphic female bounty hunter who tantalizes humans who have "furry" proclivities. None of the characters in Darkwood are particularly likable, but Reid and Kantz have assembled a story that's as fresh as it is biting. Drawn in a manga style, Kantz's art is the weak link; his character designs are sometimes pedestrian and his draftsmanship is slapdash. However, the inventive story and unrelentingly sardonic world view make up for these flaws. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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