Review: The Wren Volume 2 – all ages fun from Ireland
The Wren Volume 2
Story by: Phil Roe and Jason Connor
Art by: Jason Connor
Published by: Button Press
I love a good All-Ages comic! Sometimes you want to forget about the grown up stuff, forget about things like bills, taxes, who to shoot and where to hide the body (I may have also been reading The Crow and 100 Bullets). The Wren is an Irish creation and a great example of comics that don’t have to have guns, excessive violence and everything that came into popularity in the ’90’s. This story, by Irishman Jason Connors and Phil Roe, is a lot of fun and the ongoing adventures of child hero The Wren is a great tale of growing up, having fun and beating the forces of evil.
In March, the second volume of the collected editions came out, collecting issues #4 to 7. This is as easy a jumping on point as following the series itself, as woven throughout he first few pages is a chance to recap what happened while at the same time it throws you into a new action packed adventure.
Roe and Connors are new to the world of comics and trying to make it on their own with this creator owned tale, and this is an attempt to tell a new modern story infused with references and tales from classic Irish and Celtic mythology. As you read through the high-flying adventures, you see little references to all things Irish (such as superheroes with bird names, specifically names of birds indigenous to Ireland e.g. The Wren, Weaver, Starling). This is a well-crafted story, set in a self-contained universe, but with room to expand if needed (as they do in the series ‘Artos’ whose first issue is also out now).
But a comic wouldn’t be a comic without art!
I love Jason Connor’s art! It’s my favourite thing about this series, all the characters are his design and his style reminds me of cartoon series like Ben 10 or Generator Rex but with the pop art dynamic style of panelling of Mike Allred (X-Statix, FF, Madman) or Michael Oeming (on series like Takio).
Each panel has a distinctive point and no space on the page is wasted as he adds both little details in quieter exposition panels than the high action explosive fighting panels, which jump out of the page and right at the reader to keep him or her turning the page! Connors also sneaks in little jokes in the panel (like the ‘Clancy cryptic’ magazine read by Weaver or the teddy bear that The Wren sleeps with after he gets injured). Combine this with each character having a distinct look, physical personality and body language and you’ve a story that will keep both young new readers as well as experienced veterans like myself intrigued.
The series is a lot of fun! Every issue is packed full of hyper energetic, joyous frantic kid-appropriate action and adventure and whenever I get a copy I have the joy of reading it myself and then giving it to nieces and nephews so as they can enjoy it too!
The Wren isn’t widely available yet, as Button Press is only a small publishing company (published out of Connors and Roe’s respective kitchens) but you can pick up copies of The Wren and Artos in Forbidden Planet’s Dublin store and see what the creators are up to here on their website.