By Greg Pak, Mirko Colak, Will Quintana and Simon Bowland
Old West. New Magic.
Before you crack open the first issue of the new Dark Horse book, Kingsway West, clear your mind of preconceived notions. This is a solid read that is best consumed with a freshly cleansed palette. Although, the book is, thankfully, everything it claims to be. It both bends and blends genres without ever sacrificing character and story. Infusing magic and fantasy into the classic Old West, while not a new idea, is always a great move. Part of what makes comic books fun is the ability to create a chaotic subject matter within an otherwise pleasant composition. Here Greg Pak writes a story that flows evenly enough while quickly, yet aptly bringing the reader forward in time to the proper starting point. From there, it’s nearly equal parts drama and action, which are neatly paced and well constructed, making for a legible first issue despite an over-the-top premise.
Kingsway West is setting out to be an amazing story full of fantastic scenes enriched wholeheartedly with art and color by Mirko Colak (Turok) and Will Quintana (Exiles). Colak’s artwork has a charming storybook-like quality to it. He draws things as clearly magical without literally drawing magic, but when he does deliver the genuine article, Quintana is right there to enhance it. Rich and saturated colors dusted with worn beiges and browns reminiscent of the Old West create a wonderful contrast and means of storytelling. The color rendering in this book is such that it is often difficult to identify where one picks up and the other leaves off. That is to say, Mirko Colak is in good hands, though the effect of collaborators working in harmony is likewise visible at every stage.
Colak and Greg Pak team-up frequently and it shows here. Pak is providing both artist and colorist with enough material that plays to their strengths as they are to each other. On top of it all Simon Bowland (Red Sonja) keeps stride with his lettering, which is professional and clean even when finding creative solutions. With a book like this, it’s key that nothing allows the story to get hung up or grow stale, and Bowland does his part to round out this top-notch team of creators. There doesn’t seem to be a challenge, self-imposed or not, that they aren’t willing to tackle.
In a story void of dull moments, it’s clear this creative team is more than capable of upping the stakes with each future issue. It’s a terrific visual ride, this book, and bound to intensify. But we’ll have to wait and see. There is as much potential to overcomplicate this comic series, as there is to let it thrive. So far we’ve been given a lot to look at with an entertaining angle on a simple enough plot. Set in an alternate history with dragons and magic against a western backdrop, at its core Kingsway West is merely the story of a man drawn to violence and conflict despite his personal quest for a life of peace and quiet. Issue #1 is worth grabbing and there’s a very good chance you’ll want to tell you local shop to hold you a copy of issue #2 and so on.
Kingsway West #1 will be released on August 24th from Dark Horse Comics