World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw #1 is the first volume of a three part series that serves as a direct sequel to Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth. It takes place a few days after that series ended and the stinger at the end of said book, revealing that the Twin Cities are about have a serious werewolf problem. Given the protagonists are a bunch of vampires and the latter hate the former in the World of Darkness, it is not good news for the new Prince of the City.
Despite being the first issue of a new series, Crimson Thaw is pretty much the 11th issue of the Winter’s Teeth series and is going to be mostly incomprehensible to those who unfamiliar with the character of Cecily Bain or her Anarch friends. You won’t know who Cecily Bain is, why she’s suffering from voices in her head, or why her royal court is living in her old busted down mansion. You also won’t know why the Anarchs want to help her with her Lupine problem.
Despite this, I would recommend this book for those who are familiar with the Winter’s Teeth comic. I felt the ending to that series was rather abrupt and nicely follows up on the events within. This story follows up on the emotional beats of Cecily committing diablerie on her own “childe” Alejandra and now being haunted by her voice, the Anarchs trying to reunite with Cecily, and the fact Mitch has unwittingly led the Lupines to the Twin Cities.
I like the way the Anarchs are incorporated into Cecily’s “court” even though I suspect that means they’re no longer Anarchs by most definitions of the word. I’ve always enjoyed them as characters but their separation from Cecily’s story kept them from getting much spotlight. It’s unfortunate that they’re only rectifying that with three issues remaining. I would have really liked seeing them all adapt to being the Prince’s new dirty boots.
The incorporation of werewolves into the story is somewhat spotily handled as we see them primarily from the perspectives of the Kindred. I.e. as furry sherman tanks with inscrutable motives and not warriors for Gaia, basically. It’s possible that future comics will introduce new characters and give us a perspective on them other than as antagonists but I doubt that’s the case given the way the book is framed. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, though, because I admit I am primarily invested in the story as a Vampire: The Masquerade one.
Fans of Werewolf: The Apocalypse will mostly want to purchase the comic for the information at the end of the book that gives our first peak at Fifth Edition. It gives some tantalizing hints as to what the new metaplots is going to be like. I won’t spoil them here but there’s some huge developments for at least two tribes and possibly the Garou Nation as a whole.
In conclusion, this is an excellent sequel to the Winter’s Teeth comic but I don’t recommend it to new readers. The art is excellent and the story by the new authors looks to be an intriguing (albeit short one). I hope they will do another mini-series or series after this one finishes.