One thing that most comic readers can agree on is that the Western genre is one that is always in need of expansion. Sure there are titles like The Sixth Gun that entertain monthly, but much like the superhero genre there is always room for more. Skybreaker is a title I’ve been looking forward to since it was teased previously and damn if it isn’t good. It’s like a mixture of every decent Western that film and TV has turned out in the past decade.
The story opens with the narration from our yet revealed main character Cole as he talks about death. As Cole continues to narrate we find him lying in a shallow grave having dirt thrown upon him. He begins to wake up and goes for his gun shooting one of the men burying him, in the head. The other man makes a fatal mistake and only kicks Cole in the face putting him next to the shove which he then finds swung upside his head giving Cole the upper hand again. By then the other two men involved in his burial have caught wind of the situation and have come over to lend a hand, which results in all but one man receiving a bullet. Cole tells the man to go back to his boss and tell him that the Skybreaker is coming for him.
From there we roll into the nearby town and into the bar. A boxing match is underway and we find another character narrating this time. His name is Mr. Cutter and he controls the town. He’s called outside of the bar by the local town people who are concerned that the “savages” are closing in on their town and will scalp all of them. Cutter looks pissed when he discovers that it’s the Calvary that’s told the town about the “savages”, in what would have been uncharacteristic a moment before, Cutter gives a raving speech about God and assures that he and his men will defend the town.
For starters, this is not your typical Monkey Brain comic in terms of length. This is a full sized issue and with a fantastic story to go with it. Moreci’s dialog in this issue is fucking awesome. Cutter in particular switches from poetic bad guy, to a charming Preacher in two seconds flat. It’s an incredible transition and perfectly displays how evil and manipulative he is. Cole’s opening narrative paints a picture of the world for us and then he too busts into a great speech in which he calls himself the Skybreaker. If it was a wrestling match the crowd would have been standing up chanting “Holy shit, holy shit!” it was that fucking cool. This is some of Moreci’s best dialog period.
I really dig the art, but there are a few places for improvement. The opening fight scene had a few awkward panels that broke the flow of the scene, but overall it was a great fight. It was quick and dirty and believable for the world that it took place in. The violence is awesome and there are plenty of headshots showing that they are not fucking around in this story. My absolute favorite was the arrow through the eye.
I had high hopes for this series and it did not disappoint. What’s even crazier is that it’s being sold at the usual Monkey Brain price of just ninety-nine cents. I’ve bought numerous full length issues from the “Big Two” at the same page count and didn’t enjoying them nearly as much. If you’re a fan of Westerns or Deadwood then you’ll definitely want to check it out. Seriously this is some of the most impressive narrative and dialog that I’ve read all year.
Review: Michael Moreci
Artist: Drew Zucker
Publisher: Monkey Brain Comics
Release Date: 3/27/13