Saturday, July 30, 2016

Kingsway West #1 Review and *SPOILERS* - Just for the Hell of it Weekends

We All Got It Comin’, Kid

Written By: Greg Pak
Art By: Mirko Colak, Wil Quintana
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

I don’t know about you guys, but I love westerns. I find them so entertaining and I like that, for the most part, the stories are all very realistic and grounded in reality. So, when this book came around, I was hesitant as it touted both the old west and magic. However, then I saw the one writing it was Greg Pak and I just had to give it a chance. So, is Greg Pak able to mend these two very different narratives into one cohesive story? Let’s find out.

The issue starts with a brief explanation of the world that we are reading about. There was a discovery of something called Red Gold, which could give those who possessed it unexplainable powers. This led to a huge war between two countries—The Golden City, which was controlled by the Chinese, and the Mexican-ruled Republica De Los Californios. This is pretty much all the lore we get at the beginning. The issue gives us the information that we need and nothing more. We then cut to our main character, Kingsway Law, who has come across a creature whose leg has been caught in an animal trap. It’s at this point that he is confronted by several men who are attempting to capture Kingsway for the bounty that is on his head. Kingsway tries to talk with them but they tell him that he’s worth too much. Suddenly shots ring out and we see the bounty hunters on the ground, bleeding before Kingsway finished them off. Kingsway then returns to the creature and frees it from the trap before he collapses, having suffered injuries in the fight as well.

Kingsway awakens several hours later to see that his injuries have been treated. He wakes to find a Mexican woman who was responsible for helping him. He questions her motives and the two begin to talk about the scars they share. She tells him that she’s trying to live again. Just like Kingsway said, the war’s over. The two talk for a bit more before smiling at each other.

We flash forward five years and we see Kingsway collecting food. He mentions that he now has a wife when he is interrupted by a woman riding a horse-like creature and a small dragon-like creature flying around her head. She’s looking for Kingsway Law, but he keeps his identity a secret from her. She’s been using the shells from his latest battle to track him. The small dragon is able to track his gun but he flies off in a different direction, leading the woman to believe that the man before her is truly not Kingsway Law. He picks up his weapon as she rides away and aims at her. He contemplates shooting her in the back in order to make sure she and no one else finds him. Suddenly he sees a posse riding toward her direction, firing their weapons. He figures it will take care of itself when suddenly he comes to a horrible realization.

Kingsway runs until he reaches his home. He finds it burned to the ground and he screams out for his wife Sonia, the woman from the campfire five years ago. Meanwhile, the woman from earlier is finally caught by the posse and it would seem that they are officials from the Golden City. They suspect the woman of stealing from the Queen and when she uses the powers given to her by the red gold, their suspicions are confirmed. She fights back a bit before she is ultimately captured. They are suddenly interrupted by Kingsway, who asks them about the cabin they had just burned. He was wondering about the woman that lived there. They told him that they didn’t kill any woman, though they would have if they had seen her. The official in charge then begins to flex his power now that he has taken the red gold from the woman and they are about to punish her by cutting off her hand, when suddenly shots ring out and Kingsway has killed them all. The woman realizes that this man is the one she was looking for. They talk for a bit and she tells him about her goal to make their people truly free, but Kingsway doesn’t care about what she wants. All he wants is for her to use her dragon to track his wife.

We then cut to a new group who is using some kind of technology to track the use of red gold. They talk to one of their trackers, a woman who has wings, and tells her to track the recent spike of red gold activity. The group is clearly new and looks to take out both The Golden City and the Mexicans in the name of the United States of New York. We then see a large ship that is clearly utilizing the power of red gold. This is where the issue leaves us.

I was pleasantly surprised by this issue, though I supposed I shouldn’t have been. Greg Pak is an amazing writer and this issue only confirmed that. To be fair though, this book seems like a huge challenge. Most books that have their own world and lore spend the first issue setting everything up and thus, not a lot happens. Those issues are boring and usually explain why a book doesn’t do well. This issue, though, gives the audience only what they really need. Sure, there are plenty of questions I still have, but those questions will have me coming back for more. In addition, Pak has to blend two of the most different genres in the world. On one hand, he has a western story which is a genre so heavily reliant on realism. On the other hand, he has magical elements which are so heavily reliant on fantasy. It sounds like a fucking nightmare but Pak pulls it off. The magical elements of the story did not seem out of place in the realistic setting of a western. Everything in this issue just flows so naturally. I’m honestly incredibly impressed and compelled to read more. In addition to Pak’s amazing writing, we have an art team that has really brought life to these character. Most every panel is breathtaking and makes me want to pause for just a second to really appreciate each and every one. This first issue did its job perfectly. It got the story started, set up this new world, and gave me something exciting enough that made me want to read more.

Bits and Pieces

Greg Pak is at it again with a new story and he hasn’t missed a beat. He is joined by an amazing art team as the first issue of Kingsway West gives us everything you would want from a first issue. We are given a compelling story, beautiful art, and are introduced to a brand new world that harps upon both fantastical and realistic themes and makes them feel as if they always belonged together.


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