Shaolin Cowboy #1 Review

With considerable kung fu grip, comes considerable responsibility.

This issue is unlike any other from a comic book that I have ever read. Granted, I have never read any Shaolin Cowboy or anything from Geof Darrow, so maybe this is normal? Either way, this issue comes with 27 pages of standard panel comic art/dialog, and nearly 3500 consecutive words describing “The Story so far…”.

Here’s the official description from Dark Horse:

The Shaolin Cowboy returns, but nowhere in sight is there a dead Robin, any infinity gauntlets, or a single conquering Ultron—just flat-out action, intrigue, and plenty of roadkill. Geof Darrow’s slow-talkin’, kung-fu-gripping hero proves once again, in this brand-new new series, that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a chainsaw!

* From writer/artist Geof Darrow (Hard Boiled, The Matrix)!

* More action than the rest of your pull list combined!

* All-new story! Start reading here!

* Covers by Darrow and Walter Simonson!

The writing for the book comes from two different worlds. Geof Darrow‘s 3500 word introduction is a stream of consciousness diatribe against american pop culture and politics – all the while describing the uncanny adventures of “the Cowboy” as he journeys across both space and time foiling the most dastardly of plans. The actual panel comic art/dialog is pretty standard and what you might expect. Their juxtaposition and not-so-subtle segue are all part of the joke. And that is what makes this comic stand out. It walks the fine line of not taking itself seriously and providing genuinely complex entertainment.

Darrow is also the artist for the book. I used to have a problem with this kind of art. I considered it “dirty”, not in content, but it actually looked gritty. Nick Pitarra’s work on Manhattan Projects was the first time I saw this kind of comic art. It grew on me, and in fact seems to be decently common now. That said, the art is extremely detailed – literally – no stone is left un-penciled. It fits perfectly with the off-the-wall nature of the story, so even if it takes some getting used to, it is worth it.

The return of the Shaolin Cowboy in this new series brings a different kind of hero. No tights, no flight, no nonsense. Just kung fu and chainsaws – oh, and zombies. If any of this twerks your interest, this just may be the book for you!



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