Daisy Kutter: The Last Train

Kazu Kibuishi’s science fiction Western Daisy Kutter: The Last Train uses distinctly toned art to put a new spin on traditional elements. Daisy was a noted thief and gunslinger, but she’s now retired, running a dry goods store and very bored.

Daisy Kutter: The Last Train cover
Daisy Kutter: The Last Train
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Her ex-partner, Tom, is the town’s sheriff, and two strangers have just appeared to try and recruit Daisy to rob a train. This could be a traditional Western, until the robots show up. At that point, it has a lot of the flavor of Serenity, with its modern take on morality and living outside the law. What makes this particular setup unusual is that they claim that the train’s owner wants Daisy to plan the robbery in order to test his security systems.

Kibuishi’s best-known for editing Flight, but in this, his first long-form work, the pacing sets this story apart. The opening scene, which establishes Daisy’s skills, mood, and personality, is wordless until another character arrives, yet the reader is instantly swept into the environment through differently sized panels that focus on key elements. Together, moments make up the bigger picture. Kibuishi’s fondness for small panels make for a dense story with plenty of world-building, although he uses full-page images when the mood calls for it.

All the classic scenes are here: the poker game showdown. The barroom face-off. The memories around the old gun. And of course, the climactic showdown on the deserted, dusty main street. I particularly liked the rain scenes, with Daisy pondering her choices while the water pours down on her — it’s a powerful visual, well-executed. She’s a strong, tough lead, a pleasure to watch.

The clash between individuality and the rule of law is at the root of every Western, and here the conflict is foregrounded though Daisy’s history with Tom. She’s always made her own rules and lived true to her own beliefs, but Tom now represents the rules of society. She can’t accept that maybe he’s right, or maybe he’s grown up in ways she hasn’t. Her stubbornness puts them both in danger; relying on only her skill isn’t enough. She has to learn to share with those she trusts.

The book also contains background material, character sketches showing how Daisy’s look developed and early page layouts. Online previews are available. Amulet is Kibuishi’s new series.

5 Responses to “Daisy Kutter: The Last Train”

  1. Scott Says:

    I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for you to read this one ;). I found it after reading some of the Flight anthologies and would love for Kibuishi to revisit Daisy’s story.

  2. Johanna Says:

    It was on my “sounds interesting but not committed enough to order blind” list. :) I stumbled across it in my library one day. Yay libraries!

  3. James Schee Says:

    Uhm didn’t you review this book once before Johanna? (right when it came out?) I could have sworn you have anyway… (no biggie either way)

  4. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » June 2, 2009: Proudly ignoring the whole Archie thing Says:

    […] [Review] Daisy Kutter: The Last Train Link: Johanna Draper Carlson […]

  5. Johanna Says:

    I think I may have talked about the first issue back when that was out, maybe? I dunno, I couldn’t find anything here on the site.




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