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The Shaolin Cowboy: Who'll Stop The Reign? #1

by Forrest.H on April 19, 2017

Writing and Art: Geof Darrow
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Nate Piekos
Publisher: Dark Horse
I must assume at this point that if you’re a fan of comic books, you’re a fan of Geof Darrow.

His gritty, layered and infinitesimally detailed artistic endeavors are near legendary at this point with good reason. This issue, a return to the world of Shaolin Cowboy, is no different. Laden with talking crabs, vultures, vicious demi-gods of death and more, the issue, as Shaolin issues before it, finds its stride in the incredible world that Darrow brings to life in tandem with Stewart’s excellent coloring. Nobody does a double page spread quite like Darrow and that’s more than apparent here, to my delight and gleeful recommendation.

The narrative here, then, is an unfortunate mismatch with the breathtaking art. It’s delightfully off-the-wall, and I will always make concessions for fun things like crab cars doing battle in ruined city streets, but it’s simultaneously too on-the-nose.

The effort, both through its dialogue and visual language reads like an attempt at Hunter S. Thompson gonzo social commentary but, ultimately, misses the mark. Darrow takes delight in laying on bitter, sardonic bites at consumer culture and modern media but ends up taking aim at the wrong aspects of those issues, punching down instead of up, a behind the scenes holier-than-thouness that I find disenfranchising.  

Darrow’s art speaks for itself in the visually stunning return to Shaolin Cowboy. Unfortunately, the writing and over-the-top social commentary don’t keep up the pace – instead offering more than their fair share of eye-rolling and that’s a shame. Stay for the art, leave the words to the side, thinking of them merely as a means to an end and you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. 

Our Score:


A Look Inside