Shaolin Cowboy: Who'll Stop The Reign #1 Review
- Story, art, and cover by Geof Darrow
- Colors by Dave Stewart
- Letters by Nate Piekos
- Published by Dark Horse Comics
So, Shaolin Cowboy is back. After all my excitement, I just had to get this book...
And I'm not sure what I thought of it.
I have no doubts about the art. Geof Darrow still does almost everything, and everyone else is consistent, so it looks right. It's going to push as many boundaries as possible. I don't think Darrow could find anything too disgusting to draw, which just continues here. We have the zombie bodies everywhere, picking up from last time, and he still manages to top that imagery, both disgusting (popping the vulture's eyes out) and ridiculous (those eyes hitting and killing the other vultures).
While I love the audacity, something feels different in this book. It seems to want to go somewhere, but isn't clear about where. If that's the point, it's not coming across clearly.
This series has a weird relationship with using words - the first issue of the last series had two solid pages of three columns of really small type, with the second issue being completely silent two page spreads the whole way through. This issue is talkative, and that's where I'm confused. This issue is way out in the country somewhere (Texas? Between this and Redneck, there seems to be a theme to the week), and everyone sounds like the worst redneck stereotype, but there's also mockery of technology and neo-Nazis and maybe even the space program, and where is this going. Is this aimed at a target? Then choose one. Given that the subtitle is "Who will stop the Reign", it feels like it should have one.
When we're with the Shaolin Cowboy, everything is working, even when he talks, (in spirit form fighting a Hindu god), arguing over the technicalities about going to hell. It's got all the ridiculousness that I'm hoping for, and I'll leave the details so you can read it yourself. The weird setpieces may be worth it alone.
Like so many times, I'm at the end of this book not knowing what I think. I like when it feels like past issues, but the rest leaves me unsure. It's not that ridiculous rednecks are new to the series, but it's weird they have such a prominent role.
There's no reason this series can't be more than just killing zombies with a quarterstaff made of chainsaws. It hasn't convinced me that it'll be able to really land whatever it's doing, mostly because it's not clear what it's trying to be.