Review by Ian Keogh
Somewhere along the way Beau Smith had a change of heart about Wynonna Earp. Pretty well everything poor, unworkable and preposterous has been discarded, and in this second volume we’re left with something far nearer the basis of the Wynonna Earp TV show. Wynonna is still an agent heading a squad for the Black Badge Division, an enforcement organisation investigating Fortean topics, but for starters is now dressed in a far more practical jeans and leather jacket ensemble.
Her current target is a group known as Immortalis, immortals who seek to shape the destiny of the planet, but along the way Smith drops in names of several other organised groups of supernatural foes offering problems for future stories. Immortalis have been dabbling in human/animal hybrid genetics, hence the graphic novel’s title. Smith sticks close to action movie template of quips, guns, tech and explosions, and had he not died in 2016 Alan Rickman would surely be playing a supercilious version of chief geneticist Dr Robidoux at some stage. The staging is proficient, and if the dialogue every once in a while slips into arch monologuing, that’s all par for the course. Smith doesn’t mean this to be taken seriously
Artist Enrique Villagran makes the most of the snowy outside scenes – let’s face it, anything in snow looks good – and when the time comes he further impresses with the surprise ingredient. You didn’t think Wynonna was going to be facing yeti without some back-up, did you?
Wynonna’s roots are in b-movie features, so it’s only fitting that there’s a short back up reel taking her to the wheat belt where a lot of people have been turning up dead in the fields. Manuel Vidal is nowhere near the artist that Villagran is, and practically shoehorns people into some of his panels. Smith’s plot is also clumsily telegraphed, but he’s just having a laugh anyway, so it isn’t the sin it might otherwise be.
There’s no pretension about Wynonna Earp. Smith’s creating mindless pulp entertainment and his feature does this in manner that will satisfy anyone looking for a mixture of glamour and guts. Several years later Wynonna was on TV and the series continued with Homecoming.