Leslie’s life has been turned upside down. She reluctantly attended a first date with a government run partnership programme and it became a nightmare, her best friends have been murdered, and it turns out there’s some strange reality to the erotic dreams she’s been having about a white wolf. Awakening ended with an attempt on her life also, and her rescue by a white wolf. The Hunt opens with Leslie and the wolf fugitives, and her name being smeared across national media as she attempts to process the deaths of her friends. The people responsible for those murders are also shown, still plotting and referring to Leslie as having a mythological background, and a fair amount of early pages are given over to establishing Khal, the white wolf.

In addition to being a fantasy thriller, Mirka Andolfo spotlights intolerance, where anyone who doesn’t conform to a narrow definition of legitimacy is persecuted. It’s an exaggeration of organisations and processes occurring in the real world, only here given state sanction. A woman who’s successfully completed her anti-nature deviants course is left with a tattoo on her forehead as part of the process, forever marking her and rendering her unemployable. However, when compared to the truth revealed to Leslie about what she is, and about the voice she carries within, it’s the lesser horror.

For all the invention, the world-building of The Awakening is a more enthralling experience than The Hunt, which for all the background revelations and the continuing gorgeous art also exists in more familiar territory. There’s a battle within Leslie, with two ancient and powerful forces struggling to be let loose. One could dominate the world, the other could save it, and as long as there’s a chance good will win out, it’s important Leslie is kept safe. The background of a prejudiced world is still all-pervasive, but barring a surprise revelation in Rebirth, it’s secondary, more an excuse for violence than anything else. Because Andolfo is such a good artist, though, there’s a constant exotic look, and it elevates the plot.

The entire series is also available in an oversized, hardback Omnibus edition.