Reviews, Comics

Feral #1 Review: Sink Your Teeth In

Discover the fuzzy and ferocious world of Feral #1, the new series by the creative that brought you Stray Dogs from Image Comics.

Feral 1 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesMar 22, 2024, 10:19 AM

Feral #1

Review
Rating
9
Good
Feral 1 Full Cover

Writer: Tony Fleecs

Artist: Trish Forstner, Tone Rodriguez

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: March 27, 2024

Page Count: 32

Format: Single-issue

Fans of Stray Dogs will be happy to see the creative team of Tony Fleecs and Trish Forstner is back doing what they do best. This time, for a series that takes a unique spic on classic zombie storytelling.

Tony Fleecs and Trish Forstner, the team behind the hit series Stray Dogs, are back with another imaginative horror story about pets. But this time, cats are the stars of the show in a story that is even darker and more gruesome than the last. Did the comic’s incredible, Disney-like visuals catch your eye? Then, continue reading for my full advanced review of Feral #1!

Feral 1 - sequence of events happening with the catsImage: Image Comics

Overview

Lord, Elsie, and Patch are three house cats that were being transported by an Animal Control truck until an accident caused the vehicle to veer off the road and into a secluded forest. Far from home and with no humans in sight, the cats must put their wits together to escape the wilderness alive. But little do the cats know that the forest has a dark secret festering within it. 

Review

If you’ve read Stray Dogs by Tony Fleecs and Trish Forstner, then you have a good idea of what the two creators can do with their collaborations. Feral juxtaposes its charming Disney-inspired art style with a dark, bloody, and ominous horror story. But in how Stray Dogs was a mix of Silence of the Lambs and Lady and the Tramp, Feral is Night of the Living Dead meets The Aristocats. This comic is a unique take on the zombie story formula. But instead of people turning into undead monsters, it’s about cats and woodland animals stricken by a mysterious rabies virus. As someone who has consumed plenty of zombie-related media, from films to books and video games, I was impressed by how seamlessly the classic elements of the genre fit into a story focused on pets and other animals.

Feral 1 - Cats in cages; creature in front of a carImage: Image Comics

While it’s still unclear if the virus’ origins are scientific or mystical, as zombie fiction tends to go either way, this first issue lays the groundwork for the story to go in interesting directions. With details about the virus kept vague, there is an air of mystery about the affliction, what it does, and how bad it has gotten throughout the comic’s world. But there are moments in the comic that show how feral (wink wink) the infected animals can get. As fantastic as Trish Forstner is at capturing the wholesomeness of the classic Disney art style, the flashes of intense violence and gruesome visuals make this comic stand out. It’s mind-blowing to see how incredible Forstner is at detailing facial expressions, as characters range from being the cutest things imaginable to the stuff of nightmares. 

Now, as much as I want to avoid comparing one comic to another too heavily, it’s hard to separate this discussion about Feral from Stray Dogs. Both series share so much of the same DNA, with their blend of cute and horrifying elements. But even though Feral just started its run, the concept and execution feel like a much more natural fit together. Using rabies as an analog for a zombie virus makes such perfect sense that I’m surprised it’s an idea that was not explored sooner. This first issue even ends with a cliffhanger that plays on a classic zombie fiction trope. While it's arguable that zombies are an over-done genre at this point, exploring it through this unique lens leaves me eager to see how far the intriguing premise can get pushed the deeper we get into the story. 

Feral 1 - cat and raccoon face-offImage: Image Comics

Final Thoughts

Feral #1 is a promising start to a series that blends Disney-inspired visuals with classic zombie fiction storytelling tropes. Don’t let the cute cats and animals fool you. This comic gets dark, really fast. It doesn’t take long for the intriguing appeal of this series to sink its teeth into your imagination. And just like Stray Dogs, it delivers a unique reading experience that feels rare also within the world of independent comics. 

Why You Should Read Feral

  • It’s a unique take on the zombie formula with plenty of mystery to unfold.
  • Trish Forstner’s delightfully eye-catching art makes the dark story more eerie.
  • Fans of Stray Dogs will be happy to see this new series carries a lot of the same DNA.

TAGGED: Image Comics
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