No Rest For the Wicked is a modern take on an old west classic gunslinger tale. In Volume 1, we meet Reno, Outlaw, Casanova, and trick shot Gunslinger, as he comes waltzing into town looking for a game of cards and a pretty face (or two. Or three). Unfortunately for everyone involved, it ends with a whole lot of gunplay. While billed as a “supernatural” tale, none of that shows up in Volume 1, but the creators promise it will be prominent in Volume 2.
Currently being produced as a webcomic, the creative team has hopes and plans of publishing No Rest as a trade volume in the future.
What I Liked:
No Rest features some beautiful line work and colors. Together, they really give an old west feel. The old/burnt paper background behind the panels helps with that as well, and looks nice both on the website and as a PDF. The story is limited so far it what it provides as a hook, mostly just mixing in Mysterious Stranger with potentially corrupt local politics and law enforcement. I look forward to what Volume 2 has to bring, so Volume 1 did its job well enough in that regards, at least.
What I Didn’t:
No Rest suffers from some visual and written inconsistencies (at least so they seem to me) and issues that distract from the story. This includes a few minor visual goofs like Reno somehow magically getting a lit cigarette into his mouth during a gunfight one pages 1 and 2, or just a lot happening between panels making the action unclear. For example on page 3, where it looks like Reno is talking to himself, or to the entire saloon at once, when on the next page we learn he has actually walked over to the card players on the left, and rounded the table to face the opposite direction before introducing himself.
There were also some issues for me with the lettering. Things like bolded text in dialogue appearing in clunky locations that don’t accent the conversation but rather muddle it by forcing emphasis in awkward places, as well as actually making the bolded words themselves slightly more difficult to read. I’d recommend that Matthew put some thought into how he’s lettering and why, and if there is a simpler way to place the emphasis he wants, as well as to always try reading it aloud. He could also have someone unfamiliar with the story and dialogue try to read it aloud, enunciating it the way they think the bolds and italics indicate.
From a mechanical perspective, the No Rest website has some issues that could be fixed to improve the reading experience. It uses a gallery type of reader that has a very long load time up front, but switches between pages quite quickly once it has all loaded. On my first visit to the site, however, it took so long to load that I thought it was broken. Some sort of message or loading icon to indicate that something is happening while it loads is essential. Unless you opt to go for a more traditional paginated approach, with each comic page getting its own unique URL that has the added bonus of allowing you to have an archive page to jump to pages other than “first” and “last.” Things for the creators to consider as they keep working on their website.
No Rest For the Wicked is a beautifully drawn and colored gunslinger tale that I think has a lot of potential. Volume 1 hasn’t quite reached that potential yet, so far relying a bit too much on genre and character tropes, but I have high hopes for Volume 2. I’m sure that technical and mechanical issues will improve with time, and look forward to seeing where the story goes.