AURIC of the GREAT WHITE NORTH #1 on-going
“All Things Old…, pt. 1” (13 pages)
Story: Davis Dewsbury
Art & Letters: Andrew Thomas
Colors: Alfonso Pinedo
Created by: Mike Rooth
Auric’s name provided by: Katherine Montigny
Covers: Andrew Thomas, Shane Kirshenblatt, Oliver Castañeda, Brendan Montgomery
Publisher: Great North Comics
The mystically-enhanced century-old warrior has entered the Modern Age!! Oops! Did I say that out loud? Rewind!!
The creators give us a quick recap of the title character’s origin. It is expanded a bit in that after surviving the mining catastrophe, Auric is visited by the Goddess of the North. It could be Nelvana or some other Inuit deity. I need to investigate further! Their encounter was pre-ordained. The miner has been chosen as the defender and guardian of the 49th parallel. Despite having questions, she bestows powers upon him and departs.
It comes as no surprise that Auric would be doubtful of his encounter. As he sharpen his focus, he transforms into a lion-man. Seeing a paw isn’t enough proof. The looking glass confirms his recent development and creates a bit of shock. His sarcastic remark of fulfilling his destiny in a hundred years comes true!
Fast forward to 2016. Auric has been hog-tied [natch!] by the Bush Pigs. He is communicating with his tech assistant Janks Fletcher. Auric has the situation under control even if it appears to be the opposite. The cliché that it’s all part of the plan masks his unpreparedness. At any rate, there are kidnapped campers that need rescuing. The snatched citizens aren’t too thrilled with the bound protector since he doesn’t seem to be doing much heroing. Auric reverts to human form, which loosens his bonds before he re-emerges roaring to go [double natch!]
Another mission successfully accomplished. A pause in the action has Auric and Janks at their not-so-secret HQ at the Legion ’99 in Timmins. Silvertop offers some especially cured bacon to his hired hand, origin to be determined. Janks refuses in disgust. Another new cast member is introduced: Kinzie. There is major negative vibes emitting from Janks towards her. He resents her sullenness and spookiness. Auric tells him to ease up since the trio are all on the same team.
Kinzie is quiet, emo-esque, and a major believer of mystic forces. She spray paints a protection circle within the base. Auric gives her some reassurance that Janks needed to blow off some steam. Mystery arises: Kinzie has been reading up on magic from an unknown party’s spell book. Auric forbids her to dig deeper into the darker forces. He relays that they can use other methods to find this unmentioned individual.
Like any other current super-hero, Auric has gotta keep up with the times. Having the latest gear doesn’t hurt. Janks gives him a brand-new belt buckle. First off, it has a snazzy new logo that reflects Auric’s origins. Secondly, it is multi-functional: camera, comm device, and best of all – camouflage converter.
The awe is interrupted by a call from Duncan, one of Auric’s associates. Young, rich, up-and-comer Taurin Curtis is campaigning to rid the tranquil town of all monsters. As the twosome are viewing the broadcast, Auric mentions to Janks that his new adversary is indeed familiar to him. Looks like Auric has his own Lex Luthor.
Last May, I eagerly reviewed the mini-comic of the same name. I stayed true to my word when I informed Mr. Andrew Thomas that I would cover it. I was only five weeks in with this distinguished site. I truly found the sneak peek/origin story an enjoyable read. A zero issue (in reality the second printing) had two extra pages previewing this very issue – the last B&W page in this book covering Auric’s origin and the first coloured page with Auric captured by the Bush Pigs. The wait has been worth it. The journey embarked by the creators has born fruit. Mssrs. Thomas and Dewsbury turned to Kickstarter for funding. They reached their goal days before the end of the year. This issue was officially released at the end of January. Even though I personally know the artist, I apologize for taking this long to review his creator-owned work. I wrote a small piece on the official release of this very issue.
Kudos to Mr. Deswbury for bringing Auric into the digital age. Tales of the past have their own appeal but I find that more compelling events can occur in the ever-changing present. Auric’s years on this planet make him a man out of time even if he seems well-adjusted. I applaud the inclusion of the supporting cast. Pun intended!! Everyone needs a helping hand. Crimefighting is rarely a solo act these days. I’m intrigued by Kinzie’s training and a bit put off by Janks’ animosity towards her. Also, I want to know more about Duncan and Auric’s past affiliation with his novice nemesis.
This title is as Canadian as can be. In the span of a few pages, aspects of our culture are highlighted. I’m fortunate enough to live in southwestern Ontario which has better temps and a more forgiving climate. I’m also smack dab in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). My metropolis of Mississauga is reaching 800,000 residents. North Bay is name dropped. Coincidentally, I attended teacher’s college there two decades back. That is as far north as I have been in Canada’s most populous province (fourth largest in surface area). Traveling there took four hours from my hometown of Kitchener. Timmins, home of Auric, as well as the writer, is another 360 km farther up, or four and a half hours by car. DDAAMMNN!!
Current political issues are addressed. Timmins, Ontario is a mining town. Its income is dependent on that industry. The sound bite by Taurin Curtis is spot on. The town has experienced a recent economic boom with the extraction of gold. The Mattagami First Nation people are not too far. Their teenage population is bussed to Timmins for secondary school. The Mattagami River flows through Timmins. It’s really neat how fiction and reality merge. Auric is going to have to reacquaint with his opponent.
Andrew Thomas is meticulous. As with most visual representations, the faces are the best indicators of the various story elements. Auric the man goes through several motions – rattled, bemused, agonized, confident. Auric the golden-mane has the appropriate ferocity. By no means does he look cartoony even if one suspends disbelief. Nice nod to the rat-tail. The Bush Pigs look cute and cuddly rather than threatening. They are best served on a plate ;-P Diversity is not the status quo. It is reality. Janks has ample enthusiasm even if he harbors some grudge towards the other teammate. Kinzie may be of Native descent. The smallest things are often the most important. The simplicity of the two hammers as well as the protection symbol are quickly acknowledged. I can’t help but smirk at the camouflage costume change since it reminds me of BATMAN #41 when Jim Gordon’s new tech guy swipes the various colour schemes for that armour. I’m sure that was intentional, eh, Andrew?? I see an uncanny resemblance between the penciller and the politician, minus the facial hair. Am I right??
The original operation of two has increased by one (just like Auric and his young charges!) Alfonso Pinedo covers the entire spectrum (just like the book of the same name worked on by him). The golden gladiator’s fur isn’t too flashy. It’s subdued. The pinkiness of the porcines is pretty accurate. I still chuckle at their tragic fate. Nothing tastes better than Canadian bacon!!
The colors used in the background do not necessarily match the previous panels. I feel that they are a variation of blank space. For example, it is night when Auric is among the campers but his transformation appears to occur in a different setting. The same goes for the grey foundation within the base. The costume swap has a lighter backdrop to it. I dig the B&W visuals.
Mr. Thomas does double duty by scribing. I found the letters too tightly together. I had a bit of a struggle reading especially under artificial light. Janks’ anger was loud and clear. Literally!!
All in all, another fun read. Adding a detailed fact file as well as a coming attraction for the next issue are smart moves. My curiosity always gets the better of me. I have to bide my time to see more facets of this character revealed.
Go to the official site to purchase some sweet-looking variant covers:
I give this book 7 paw prints out of 8 [87.5%] RRROOOAAARRR!!!
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