Dark Horse Comics 2016
Created & Written by Greg Pak
Illustrated by Mirko Colak
Coloured by Wil Quintana
Lettered by Simon Bowland
FIVE YEARS after the war that turned him into a monster, a Chinese gunslinger just wants to stay out of trouble. But when his wife disappears, he’s drawn back into an Old West filled with mayhem and magic where he might lose not just his love, but his very soul.
I think what Greg is doing here by exploring both Kingsway’s emotional state alongside this new world he’s created is being done exceptionally well. The opening where he’s dreaming of searching for his wife and how that connects with where he’s at right now with the Red Gold and the creatures it creates is interwoven incredibly well. Yes his wife’s disappearance is the catalyst for his current adventure and his love for her is such that he’s willing to once again become the killer he used to be shows the depth of that love is amazing. That we as readers have absolutely no idea where she is or even if she’s still alive is a great way to go here. It keeps his journey not only in the forefront but there is an added tension to what he is doing here that you can actually feel.
Ah Toy has been leading Kingsway to where they are now and i’m not entirely sure she’s been honest with him. It feels like she’s been using him for the sake of her people, granted there may be some altruism behind it but it’s deceptive nature isn’t one that goes unnoticed. That Kingsway sees this as well and takes the stand that he does and the circumstances that happen after that all conspire to pull him into a way of life that he’d once forsook. It’s great characterisation and character driven writing. We really get the chance to see his inner struggle about what he wants to do and what he’s made of his new life.
Mirko and Wil do some amazing work on the interiors here as well. The attention to detail here is extremely well represented in the facial expressions and body language. The use of page layouts through angles and perspective capture the moments beautifully. Even the use of backgrounds here are done in ways that heighten the drama of the moment bringing us those oh my goodness moments. Plus there’s the creativity and imagination on display with the creatures affected by the Red Gold and the Engineer’s ship that make for their own standout moments.
Each issue brings us new revelations and surprises, new allegiances and dangers and that’s exactly the way it should be. It keeps the story ever evolving and growing into something much greater than we believed when it started. While Kingsway is involved for his own personal reason he works with the rest to stop another war from happening as well. His destiny isn’t to sit on the sidelines and let the world go by and once he realises that I think things will change yet again.
An innovative and fresh take on an alternate history that even without the magic would be something worthy of your attention. This is strongly written and incredibly well illustrated and will thrill readers as they discover this strange, brave new world.