In this “origins” tale, a slug of liquid courage prompts nerdy Albert the wolf to seek justice as a costumed superhero against the three porcine Honeyroast brothers and their gangster dad Al Prosciutto.
Years after being bullied by the Honeyroasts at the Snobtown Academy, Albert has grown up to realize his dream of working for Wonder Comics (albeit as a janitor). Albert no sooner learns that his former nemeses are living high off the hog than a suspicious fire in one of their buildings kills all of his school buddies. Predictably depressed, he is fired up after a hobo offers a drink from a bottle in a brown paper bag (“It’s mighty powerful stuff. It’ll give you all the strength you’ll ever need…”). He dons a mask and cape made in his youth and sets out “to topple the towers of tyranny and to huff and puff and blow all asunder who stood in the way of righteousness.” Lie pairs cramped-looking blocks of small type with full-page or multi-paneled cartoon illustrations infused with murky red tones and printed on rough paper in grainy textures, giving them a dim, pulpy, retro look. “Yes, Albert would become the Lone Wolf,” the author concludes. “Hear his whistle.”
Makes The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (1989) look positively wholesome in comparison. (Picture book. 14 & up)