This week I am going to talk about a book that is not out yet. This book is a western and is forthcoming from Image comics; it’s Black Jack Ketchum # 1 by Brian Schirmer with art by Claudia Balboni.
This book was really fun to read actually and I am glad that I got an advanced copy of the first issue. The story starts with a man frantically riding for a saloon, leaping off his horse and running through, as two men follow him in. The men who follow him are made of stars and galaxies and don’t have faces. The story then cuts to someone tied to a chair who is being questioned and ultimately killed by a character called the judge. As the story continues we find out the running man’s name is Thomas Ketchum and that people are looking for a man who looks like him and goes by the name Black Jack Ketchum. We also find out that The Judge and a few other shady characters are looking for Black Jack.
This book was good. I was a little lost a couple of times, but I reread it and realized all of the parts I was lost at will probably be resolved later on in the story. This is an effective first issue and does a great job of introducing the world and characters. The story is intriguing and totally feels like a western. Brian Schirmer did a great job of taking your typical cowboy story and making it a little mysterious and creepy. The western aspect — the mistaken identity of a man leading to bounty hunters looking for him — is perfectly paired with bizarre star men, singularly named mystery figures and a really creepy, hungry train. Also making Thomas’ gun talk to him is fantastic. I love it and can’t wait to find out more about the gun.
The art is really great in this book as well. Claudia Balboni did a great job keeping this book grounded in the Wild West. The guns look amazing and the scenery is great as well. The characters I am most impressed with are the Dusters, the guys made of stars. They are both terrifying and captivating. Despite only being seen in a handful of panels, I very much want to know more about them.
I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. Most issues I have with it stem mainly from the fact that I am not too big on westerns as a genre. I like the premise, but there were also times where I felt like I was missing something. That being said, it was a really fun read with great art. I will definitely be reading Black Jack Ketchum when it launches in December.