COMIC BOOK REVIEW: WESTERNOIR / AUTHOR: DAN WEST / ARTIST: GARY CRUTCHLEY / PUBLISHER: ACCENT UK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Like its namesake suggests, WesterNoir cunningly combines frontier settings with all the trappings of the horror genre, leaving the simple question why it hadn’t been done before. Written by Dan West and illustrated by Gary Crutchley and ‘Featuring Josiah Black’ like he’s a bona fide star, WesterNoir isn’t to be missed.
Josiah is an interesting character, with a Frank Miller vibe to West’s script, rolling Josey Wales, Jesse James, and Captain Malcolm Reynolds all into one.
To even the most casual western fan, there’s plenty of familiarity here. Whether it’s Jim Jarmusch’s eccentric portrayal in Dead Man or straight-up John Wayne, West and Crutchley have crafted an organic and immersive setting, effortlessly capturing the look and language of the period.
Crutchley’s art is expansive, all black, white, and shades of grey, with a gothic tinge around the edges. Book One: The Woman with the Dead Eyes, an origin story by any other name, sets up the story brilliantly. Book 2: The Siren’s Song of the Mississippi, is the most subtle, with plenty of room for quality storytelling, but far from the most action-packed. By the fourth, Josiah Black Wanted for Murder, you’ll be hungry for more of his grizzled narration and grizzly deeds. Tales from WesterNoir, a companion title, helps flesh out the narrative, but hardly makes for a fulfilling read.
They’re familiar stories, like Buffy or Grimm, with WesterNoir seeing someone have supernatural responsibility thrust upon them, but the western setting makes for a refreshing read. Sure, there’s other more inventive titles on shelves, but none of them half as much fun.
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