I’m an 80’s kid, grew up watching re-runs of kung-fu films and some of the most badass western flicks made with stars like Wayne, Bronson, Eastwood & Van Cleef! The western theme seems to be poppin’ again, with shows like Westworld and a recent remake of the Magnificent 7. It seems now it’s a comic books turn to join this newly reinvigorated market but with a twist, think old westerns mixed with Into the Badlands (did anyone watch this show?), and a dash of Mad Max, does it work? Let’s find out!
The book begins with an intro that sets up this new world that is before us. The USA is not the one we know, the west coast is no longer under US Gov’t control. Outlaws have risen over time and decided they didn’t want to deal with the gov’t and took over the west for themselves. It was Civl War II which happened circa 2096, the outcome was not expected, the west fought hard and the USA conceded the West to the outlaws with borders and rules via a treaty. A long time has gone by since the war, but of course, outlaws will do what they do and they begin to push the limits of said treaty and this is where we meet our reluctant hero, who begins as a victim of these ruthless men sadly (for them) they didn’t know who they were messing with!
Enter Arthur Slade, family man putting the past behind him. Trying to live a peaceful life with his wife and child, unfortunately the outlaws had other plans. Events occur that leave Arthur a broken man with nothing left to live for. We see him ponder having to return to a life he was trying to get away from. It has that Godfather moment, “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in”, and boy does he get pulled in! The story sets up the stages for the next few issues of this very interesting take on the west and tale of revenge.
To me the most important factor in any story is the ability to be able to emote the characters intentions in both the writing and/or art allowing us a a reader to really connect with the character(s) and Garrett Gunn and Saint Yak delivered on both fronts! I easily and quickly connected with Arthur and his vendetta. Nowadays it’s hard to connect to any character with all the blatant political nonsense that is being displayed, but I’m glad Gunn got this right! I’m immediately immersed in the narrative and feel that I’m there beside Arthur. The story flows really well, it is intelligently written and moving. It is complimented by the fantastic art of Saint Yak. I have not been familiar with Yak’s prior work, so it was a great treat to be put onto his fantastic artistic skills. The line work, the shading and imagery created is on the money. The theme of the old west is captured perfectly. The art really compliments the story and vice versa. These guys make a great team and based on the dialogue and theme I believe there is quite a tale that is being spun that I hope will be ongoing!
This is a book that I will have to add to my pull list and I reckon ya’ll go yonder to your LCS and pick up a copy stat! 4.5/5
Writer: Garrett Gunn
Art: Saint Yak
Cover Colours: Sean Forney
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Get your copy HERE