By Andrew Cheverton and Tim Keable
“Montana, 1896 – Haven is a quiet, hardworking town, where every man knows his neighbour, every wife knows her husband, and every child knows their place.
In spring, as busy as the bees amongst the flowers. In summer, as productive as the new harvest growth. In autumn, as languid as the turning of russet leaves.
And in the winter, as quiet as the whisper of the falling snow.
This year, death has come to Haven.”
1896, the furthest we’ve been into the life of Jerusalem West yet, with the lone mysteryman now in the autumn of his years, a sheriff in the quiet little backwater of Haven, a touch too fond of a drink, but getting by without too much trouble.
However, when you’ve lived a life as long, and as incident filled as Jerusalem West, there’s bound to be someone looking to make you pay for something you’ve done. Which is where we join this tale…. with West’s past coming back to haunt him, snow on the ground, and men with scores to settle riding into town….
And just as I’ve come to expect from West, they ride into town courtesy of some beautiful artwork by Tim Keable, evoking every bit of tension of Sergio Leone, indeed you can practically hear the Morricone soundtrack playing in the background. Intricate pacing, all the scene cuts, all the time switches he’s called upon to deliver to the reader from Cheverton’s script, Keable’s able to deliver, and delivers quite magnificently.
Frankly I’ve loved the West series since first experiencing it, in perhaps in the best way, with the collected Volume 1. Since then, I’ve been reading the comics that will make up Volume 2 as they came out, this being part 5. And as enjoyable, as entertaining as it is this way, I do have a feeling that the real payoff will be when reading the complete West saga.
This is , in many ways, perhaps one of the simplest West stories I’ve read, expanding upon the 6-pager introduction to the character back in West: Believers (which you can still read at Factor Fiction). So although we’re seeing the latter stages of West’s life, we’re actually revisiting some of the earliest moments in Cheverton and Keable’s story.
Indeed, this comic opens with the script for page -6 of West: Believers, with Jerusalem West facing down four gunmen with too few bullets. That story ended on the cliffhanger, and Points West not only resolves that, but expands upon it, with all the clever mystery I expect from Cheverton at this point. And yes, just as with the last issue West: Confederate Dead the rather surprisingly straightforward nature of it merely leads me to believe I’ve missed things.
But no, a re-read times two says otherwise, this really is a pretty self contained thing, or at least as self contained as West gets. As in someone coming to West afresh will enjoy it, but someone familiar with the character will merely see this story as another layer of seeing a life being put together, a life of conflict, of mystery, of considerable invention, weirdness, and strangeness.
My words on reading the very first West comic – West: Justice are just as relevant now as they were then:
“I’m very, very impressed with West; the story is a good mix of classic Western and something more intriguing. Cheverton’s pacing and dialogue is almost spot on throughout and Keable’s artwork looks good, no matter what the style he uses.“
Five chapters into the second volume of West stories. I’m holding off reading the entire thing again until the concluding part of this second volume. But I’m looking forward to it with almost childish expectation. It’s such a well put together story, with Cheverton putting his all into the writing, creating a life in print; messy, disorganised, something to piece together, just as any life truly is, but Cheverton knows what he’s doing, the life may be disorganised, the telling of it may be out of order, but the execution is meticulous, and quite brilliant. And Keable matches Cheverton every step of the way.
You can buy the West saga at the Angry Candy store, and you really, really should.