The best word I could think of to describe this issue is "jagged." Webster defines "jagged" the following way: "having a harsh, rough, or irregular quality." That definition fits this issue of "Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson: Homecoming" to a tee. The story is jagged, darting between Mercy's thoughts and others' deeds. The art is jagged, frequently changing scene mid-page without explanation or motion. The adventures of Mercy Thompson, a walker with the ability to assume coyote form, wrap up here, for now.
This issue's first ten pages are well-paced and help establish the Mercy Thompson brand for future stories yet to be told, but the issue starts to fall apart pretty quickly thereafter. The tussle between the warring factions of werewolves is muddy and at points undecipherable, as much of the tussle is left to off-panel resolution. The killing blow –- or at least I think it's the panel that's supposed to depict the killing blow –- actually looks like one werewolf is hitting the other in the face with pom-poms. In the next panel on the same page, Mercy is shown fully-clothed (to this point she'd been experiencing wardrobe malfunctions as human clothes don't quite fit coyotes) holding the "bad werewolves" hostage. I must admit, the conflict resolution in this book utterly confused me.
This is a license that started off with such promise, but the errant shipping schedule and dramatic shift in artists quickly nipped that promise in the bud. Briggs and Lawrence offered a story with some flair, an adventure quite unlike most of the stuff on the new comics racks right now. In the end, it's still quite unlike the rest of the stuff out there, but not in the same areas as when it started.
This book was very literally poorly printed. The ink and paper combo immediately caused my copy of this book to pucker on this humid rain-soaked new comics day in Michigan. Once I started reading the book, I realized the cover was of no better quality than the inside pages, and quite possibly worse quality. Upon finishing the book, well, there is no mistaking who this issue belongs to, provided you have a copy of my fingerprints.
As I said, "jagged" fits this issue perfectly, from cover to cover. I'm hopeful that the franchise can bounce back, as I think there is a great deal of story potential and character investigation yet to be tapped. Mercy Thompson has another series coming up, allegedly in November of this year. I hope that one finds the promise and potential this series started out with.