Go West

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews | Graphic Novels -

Gar­rett Gunn, Saint Yak (Il­lus­tra­tor) Al­terna Comics (AU­GUST) Soft­cover $9.95 (96pp) 978-1-945762-16-1

In Go West, a man seeks vengeance on the killer of his wife and child in a law­less west­ern ter­ri­tory. Gunn be­gins his tale with some back­ground: out­laws have pushed the govern­ment out of Amer­ica’s west­ern ter­ri­to­ries, and now rule with an iron fist. Through the rec­ol­lec­tions of the book’s main char­ac­ter, Slade the Blade, it be­comes clear that he worked for the out­law leader, Creep, and that Slade’s fam­ily was killed when he tried to quit. Slade col­lects a few key al­lies—a woman who leads the town of “Lost Ve­gas” and her friend, a gang chief. To­gether with their sol­diers, the three con­front Creep and his forces. Slade’s back­story might have made com­pelling read­ing, but the book fo­cuses on re­venge. Though it is fast-paced and ac­tion-packed, it doesn’t re­veal much of Slade’s char­ac­ter or con­science. The re­sult is a roughly de­fined, enig­matic fig­ure who oc­ca­sion­ally talks about “con­tem­plat­ing what has hap­pened” or muses, “I never should have drug them into all this.” De­spite the fact that the story is set more than one hun­dred years in the fu­ture, the weapons and ve­hi­cles used are twen­ti­eth-cen­tury tech­nol­ogy; this is a some­what charm­ing touch, though one without a real ex­pla­na­tion. And though Slade looks like a roughed-up cow­boy, an­other char­ac­ter sports a mo­hawk and skull ban­dana—a nod to the story’s Mad-maxmeets-clas­sic-west­ern feel. The book is en­ter­tain­ingly gory and a bit ab­surd, as when a tom­a­hawk chop slices a man’s head in two hor­i­zon­tally. At its best, Go West pulls up just short of self-par­ody, and Saint Yak’s art de­liv­ers the vi­o­lence with flair.

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