Kingsway West #1
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Mirko Colak
Colors by Wil Quintana
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover by Mirko Colak and Wil Quintana
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Cover Price: $3.99
I’m a long time fan of westerns. I grew up watching The Lone Ranger, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, and the like. The concept of man living so close to nature and constantly at odds with both his environment and other humans appealed to me for some reason. Later, my attention turned to fantasy novels and role-playing games but the love of a good story set in the Old West was always there. So when someone comes along and mixes the two, I’m always down for a good a read. Kingsway West #1 is most definitely trying its best to find a place in my heart.
Read on and I’ll tell you why!
Like any great storyteller, Greg Pak uses just enough reality in his fictional story to ground it and give the reader a base from which to start. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, this comic spins a tale of Chinese miners finding a rare mineral called Red Gold in the wild and untamed area that might one day be known as California. However, after a thirteen year war between China and Mexico, no clear winner is visible. The lives lost seem all for naught since no one seems to have access to the long-lost mine.
But we, as readers, jump in where a Chinese gunslinger named Kingsway Law is trying to find some sense of normalcy after years of death and destruction. Unfortunately, he’s made a multitude of enemies, not the least of which is the Chinese Queen who has branded him a deserter and accused him of treason. He is forced into a shootout which indirectly introduces him to Sonia, a native of Mexico who is also looking to start over.
Years pass but danger lurks around every corner. A passerby becomes a victim of circumstance while at the same time his destiny rears its ugly head. Violence begets violence in this premiere issue and we are privy to what seems to be a wonderful alternative world that resembles ours in only the most basic of ways. Governments, unlike the people in them, don’t forget. And they certainly don’t forgive.
Without giving away any truly important details here, I just have so say there are dragons in this story. Not in the traditional sense, mind you. Think less Tiamat from Dungeons & Dragons and more Lockheed from Excalibur and X-Men. I guess one could say they’re like pseudodragon familiars but more independent. Anyway, in a comic that seemed more alternative Old West than fantastic, they stood out.
I liked Pak’s story. Often these mashups style comics lose their way quickly, but this one does not. Mirko Colak does an outstanding job with the artwork, breathing life into every character, as always. But perhaps what surprised me the most was Wil Quintana‘s coloring throughout the book. Where I would have expected a plethora of brown tones and an earthy feel to the panels, he brought vibrancy and splendor in the most perfect of ways. I found myself appreciating the differences and cannot wait for more!
Whether you are like me, a fan of the Old West, or just thoroughly enjoy a great tale in comic form, this book is a delight. It’s the first issue so you cannot find a better starting point, that’s for sure. In one issue we see more emotion than some comics see in their entire run. If that doesn’t prompt you to check it out, I don’t know what will.
Thanks for reading!