Iron West - Doug TenNapel

Note: This review was originally written for Giant Fire Breathing Robot.

You’ve probably seen the trailers for the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens movie, and maybe you’ve also read about Cowboys vs. Ninjas (aka The Warrior’s Way). But there’s another odd cowboy match-up from a few years ago that never got as much attention: Cowboys vs. Robots.

Iron West, by Doug TenNapel, is set in 1898 (just after the gold rush) in the town of Twain Harte, California. A couple of miners happen on a weird artifact—and that’s when the robots start to appear. The only one who survives their train heist is Preston Struck—a lying, cheating, out-for-himself slimeball. Even in the midst of an all-out battle between Twain Harte’s residents and the robots, Struck just wants to grab the girl and get the heck out of Dodge.

Struck gets some help from a Mi-Wuk shaman with a dry sense of humor and a big pal named Sasquatch. This being a TenNapel tale, Struck eventually learns his lesson and takes a stand for the town—but along the way there are a lot of robots, a bunch of action, and quite a bit of humor. And the final showdown is an over-the-top boss battle, as only TenNapel can draw ‘em.

I’ve always been a fan of his comics—his wacky creatures and monsters and off-the-wall plots are a joy to read. I picked this one up at Comic-Con this summer and read it in one sitting one evening when I should have gone to bed. I love the way TenNapel can take familiar character types—the square-jawed sheriff, the self-centered jerk, the cryptic mystic—and throw them into unfamiliar territory to see what sort of a story they tell.

It’s not a long book (you’ll wish there were more) but it’s packed with great drawings and plenty of derring-do. If you’re looking for a fun cowboys-’n'-engines comic, take a trip to the Iron West.

Fed to jonathan's brain | December 08, 2010 | Comments (0)


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