"Cursed to live! Doomed to die! What earthly power can kill the Confederate dead!"
By Andrew Cheverton and Tim Keable
That’s a bloody good, and oh so suitable bit of hyperbole on the cover of this latest West story from Cheverton and Keable that pretty much perfectly sums up the whole Confederate Dead experience – Cowboys and zombies.
Lots of zombies.
On the one hand there’s not that much in Confederate Dead. The lead story is very simple, very linear….. this is pretty much what you need to know, right here on page 1:
Yep, like Bob Dylan tells us it’s Jerusalem West and Wilton Frohickie hunting down the bounty of the McGill Gang to sleepy little shitehole Ganger Narrows. And it all goes quickly wrong though when neither man pays any heed to the townsfolk’s warnings about Black Salt Island.
So yes, it all goes wrong.
Fight, cowboys, zombies.
And that’s just about it. Sure, there’s the 4-page first part of Homestead to end the comic, what promises to be some sort of origin of Jerusalem West, or at least a look at the terrible events that went towards making West the legend he becomes. But that’s a very low-key thing. This is pretty much all about the zombies and the cowboys.
On the other hand, as with all the West saga, there’s that feeling that Cheverton and Keable have a plan, a story of West that sits across all these little tales, as they build a man’s unconventional life, taking moments here and there, creating something really epic and rather bloody brilliant.
So yes, this may well be one of the most conventional West tales so far – even though it takes us so far into the realms of the weird it’s very much an A to B to C sort of short story – but it’s still a perfectly crafted, ridiculously over the top tale with some cracking art from Keable along the way. And it’s good to see Keable back. I missed him in the multiple artist story of West: Stray Bullets, and it doesn’t take too long in Confederate Dead to get a bit of drop dead gorgeousness ….
(Oh yeah, something an’t right, in a comic when everything looks and feels very right. Cheverton & Keable’s West: Confederate Dead)
There’s a style to his line that’s so nice, a simple rhythm to his artwork, his storytelling that’s just so damnably enjoyable. Tie that to Cheverton’s writing and you really do get something highly enjoyable.
I mean, just look at this page below. The timing in those first three panels makes me smile every time I see it, and the cliché of the lightning strike illuminating the scene is beautifully done by Keable. The ending, the finality, the simplicity of West’s response, his steely determination and resolve…. so good…
My love for all things West continues and grows. This may be filler, or it may be part of the bigger story – we’ll find out in time I’m sure. But even if it does prove to be filler, it’s grand, exciting, ridiculously over the top filler, a perfect little Saturday night at the movies sort of comic.
After the slight lull in the excitement on my part from Stray Bullets, this is another worthy addition to the West library. (Quick reminder – that West library is made up of West: Justice, West: Distance #1, #2, and the afore-mentioned Stray Bullets)
Confederate Dead is a one-shot, available from the Angry Candy webstore. More West to come from Cheverton and West in 2012 with Points West. As usual, I can’t wait.