Friday, January 16, 2015

Review - The Cowboy With Many Hats

"You don't know what's coming to ya, Sheriff."

When you're a small business owner, there's an old adage that you have to wear many hats. Now, assuming you're not running a haberdashery, that's a figurative saying, as it means you have to take on varied responsibilities to get the job done. Getting the job done could even go a far as surviving, as is the case on The Cowboy With Many Hats. The issue is written by Christopher Lee Reda and illustrated by Tadd Galusha.

When the Sheriff of an old western town is framed for murder by the State Marshall, he must realize that all things pass before he loses hope to move on. From here, it's one misadventure to the next, as the Sheriff struggles to reconcile his penchant for doing what's right with doing what it takes to survive.

The Cowboy With Many Hats is a paean to the sturdiness of the classic cowboy. Reda's story starts off rather formulaic, with the Sheriff hellbent on enforcing justice until he's set up to take a fall from grace. From there though, things get very creative, as his downfall follows him wherever he goes. Reda does a fantastic job following the Sheriff as he bounces from one job to the next, fully embracing the present in an effort to escape his past. What's even more exciting for the reader is that the past keeps up with him and affects his future, prompting him to adapt quickly and forcefully to survive.

Amidst mostly empty gutters, Galusha depicts a wandering man in all manner of professions and predicaments. The character actions are a throwback to Silver Age comics, where things as simple as throwing something are exaggerated by emphatic action lines. The Sheriff is depicted as a muscular, mustache-wearing individual who you would have no problem believing was respected in his position of authority. The panels contrast sharply between light and dark colors, both to emphasize setting and to better showcase the action. There's an abundance of frenetic energy in many of the panels as well that effectively capture the action that comes with a gunfight.

The Cowboy With Many Hats starts off recognizable, but then veers in a direction that's slightly modified. In it, the concept of a man formerly with a purpose being aimless is explored quite intricately and the Sheriff is forced to learn new things about himself and the world around him. Reda's story is simple yet elegant in a way, as it gives a seemingly one-dimensional character different avenues to explore that one-dimension; in this case, it's a feverish commitment to anything really. Galusha's illustrations are a nice throwback and capture the action cleanly, providing the reader with plenty of great looks at the Sheriff's travails. The Cowboy With Many Hats is a fun ride alongside a character who's essentially become a dying breed.

The Cowboy With Many Hats is available on Comixology Submit now.


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