By James Kuhoric (writer), Jason Shawn Alexander (artist), Jae Lee (cover artist & character design)
The Story: What is the story? I’ve read this issue twice now and can safely say that it does little more than barely introduce the Irons siblings, supernatural bounty hunters in the Old West who are just as happy killing the townsfolk they encounter in their travels as they are the bounties they pursue.
The Good: Jae Lee’s cover is wonderfully morbid and evocative, and I’m sorry to say it totally sold me on the issue in the first place. Alexander’s art is clearly influenced by Lee’s, who also serves as Art Director for the title, and is heavily saturated in scratchy inks and shadows. It’s a great style for this kind of story though, and one of this issue’s few redeeming qualities.
The Not So Good: Kuhoric’s script here is a confused mess of disconnected scenes that suggest the idea of a story without actually telling one. The dialogue is a melodramatic nightmare that had me groaning as hard as I was laughing. For example, take this passage from the first page: “Pain. It’s the only thing in this world you can count on. We’re born in pain. Suffer with it every day on this land. And die in it. If we’re lucky, the pain leading us to death is brief and not an extended agony.” What!? Who talks like that? Hard to say, as Kuhoric never even introduces his characters. The whole issue is full of these moments, and while I’m sure Kuhoric is taking his story quite seriously, it’s that same emo streak that comes off looking ridiculous.
Conclusion: A moody, pretentious first issue that goes to great lengths to convince you how dark and serious it’s going to be, but forgets to be entertaining in the process. You don’t need this.