Dead West

Dead West

The team behind the critically praised Teenagers From Mars, writer Rick Spears and artist Rob G., return with a zombie Western, Dead West.

While the men of a Native American tribe are out hunting, a group of whites massacre their village to enforce their claim to the property. A young brave survives and years later takes his revenge on the town, Lazarus, built on the site. Through a ritual sacrifice, he raises the town’s dead, an unthinking mob of zombies that attack any living thing.

The town’s inhabitants include the sheriff, the undertaker, and a pregnant lady of pleasure. Into town rides an amoral fat man being chased by a bounty hunter. Cinematic influences are throughout, from the character types to the staging to the use of expressions in closeup. Most immediately obvious is how much the hunter resembles Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti Western character, the Man With No Name, complete with poncho.

Dead West

The scratchy black-and-white art is beautiful. G.’s unblinking willingness to portray the gruesome results in pictures that grip the reader in spite of the subject matter. Color would be too much. Instead, this is stark and high-contrast, just like the Western desert under a noon sun. It’s a similar approach to that of The Walking Dead: not cartoony, realistic in its details, but simplified to the essence. Battle scenes are chaotic, making them more fearsome.

Even those who aren’t fans of the genres blended here will find elements to appreciate, whether it’s the character interplay (as when the brave confronts his father about his quest) or the artist’s skillful use of shading. The combination of horror and gunplay is a natural one. The classic Western loner character blends seamlessly into the last man standing survivor of a zombie attack.

The publisher has a website.

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