It has come to the point in modern-day comics where classic tales of heroes and adventure just don’t cut it anymore; there has to be a hook or a twist or something truly unique to draw in the reader to your comic instead of the hundreds of others to choose from. Well, how’s this for you: Kingsway West is a tale of the old American west involving warring nations, magical beasts, and a man whose past will never escape him no matter how hard he runs. Throw in the mysterious rare substance known as “red gold” and genetically altered humans, and we have a story that has the appeal to make even casual readers pick it up.
It’s the mid-nineteenth century in an alternate universe where magic exists and the western part of the United States as we know it is a deadly battleground in the war between the Mexicans who own the land and the Chinese who discovered red-gold on that land, who now in power due to the wealth of its properties. Our story center on a man named Kingsway Law, who was once a highly-skilled soldier for the Chinese during the war but is now on a personal path of righteousness. Unfortunately, his past haunts him as there is a price on his head for treason and he is forced to go against his new pacifist lifestyle and fight to survive the harsh conditions and defenders of the west. He encounters another freelander, like himself, who has knowledge of a large deposit of red-gold that may be enough to turn the tides in their favor and end the reign of the Queen of Golden City. Meanwhile, the United States of New York and the engineer who first theorized the existence of red-gold also got wind of this and are going to do everything they can to get there first.
The real hero here is Greg Pak, who wrote and created this series. He is currently writing Marvel’s Totally Awesome Hulk, which is on my monthly pull list and had a great issue last week. However, I’m so glad that he is producing this title and providing such interesting content. He has written it such that we do not know exactly what the red-gold does, but we know it unleashes has magical properties and can apparently defy gravity. Another success is the inclusion of several different species of magical creatures, including jackalopes, sasquatches, and dragons, which really lies on the fact that this is a different reality. Kingsway is a troubled soul that is good at his core and I think he has much room to develop throughout this series. While the art by Mirko Colak is pretty standard, I did like that he didn’t adhere to stereotypical depictions of Mexican and Chinese races. Aside from slightly smaller eyes, the only defining trait to differentiate the Chinese are their uniforms, and many times I had difficulty telling the two apart (which had its downsides as well). For the record, Kingsway is Chinese, but has such a rough “cowboy” exterior that race really isn’t too noticeable.
I was concerned at first that this series would be too much like the AMC Original Series “Into The Badlands” after reading the pre-order description a couple of months ago. Even though I opted not to add this to my pull list, it wouldn’t have regretted doing so. There is an intriguing protagonist in a mystical variation of the Wild West on a quest to find a loved one and potentially stop a destructive empire from obtaining immeasurable power. Overall, this is a success for Pak and pleasure to read, so hop on now so that you don’t miss a thing.
Kingsway West #1 hits your local comic book shop on Aug 24, 2016.
Golden! 4 out of 5 Stars
(W) Greg Pak (A/CA) Mirko Colak
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics