Review – Pale Horse #1

While I have no idea what the old west was like to live in I do often think about it and say it must have been a simpler time. Constantly being bombarded with information in this day and age makes me feel overloaded at times. While it takes some adjusting, after a few hours in the rare place with absolutely no cell phone service can be a liberating experience. Settling some land, building a house, hunting and farming for food…these are things that are long dead concepts to me. While none of these things are simple in practice, the concepts seem very clear cut. Survive or don’t, it is that simple.

Well, maybe the old west wasn’t so simple after all. Pale Horse presents a tale of prejudice, murder, revenge and finding one's purpose while focusing on family. BOOM! Studios publishes the tale created by Andrew Cosby, written by Michael Alan Nelson, and brought to life by an art team including Christian Dibari, Andres Lozano and Johnny Lowe. The main character is a Native American named Cole, who has to take and raise his son in the midst of tragedy. In many ways this title reminds me of Punisher, only if it took place in the old west. Yeah…I went there.

At the start Cole is in town selling some skins to make a living. As we see throughout the book, there are definitely a number of people in town who respect Cole despite the prejudices that existed against Native Americans at the time. The particular tribe isn’t mentioned, but I don’t think it really matters in the large scheme of the story. Perhaps we’ll learn more about that in future issues. He simply seems to be trying to make a living in this new world.

While completing his transaction three men come into town talking about taking it two a “squaw” that they saw while outside of town. At first Cole doesn’t react but when he reaches his cabin it becomes obvious that his wife was the victim. He finds his infant son who was hidden in the cabin in a chest next to his gun, knife and tomahawk. The trip back into town isn’t peaceful.

There is some missing lettering in the time lapse box that I THINK is supposed to read “Three years later…” but I can’t tell. Cole has a wanted poster on the wall, but he strolls in and out of the sheriff’s office at will. Why you ask? Perhaps it is because he seems to have become one of the foremost bounty hunters in the land. The Sheriff lets things slide because he skims half of ever bounty off the top. As he leaves we get our first look at how Cole has raised his son in this dangerous world he finds himself. Life skills include counting money carefully, hunting, recognizing an ambush and just surviving.

His son has a creepy aura about him but I guess that is what would happen being raised with your life constantly in danger. I can’t wait to see the continued development of both Cole and his son. They are great characters and Cole has some interesting people show up to hunt him at the end of this first issue. The artwork is great and Cole and his son are drawn to really emphasize Cole’s cold "survive at all costs" demeanor and his son’s emotions.

This is a tale of a father and son surviving against all odds in a world where they are seen as the enemy and a savage by most people. I love the story here; a tried and true story of revenge and family in a setting that I’m always a sucker for. The art work matches perfectly and the whole issue just comes together really well. I’m looking forward to future issues and to see if Cole and his son Thomas can ever find peace.

Check out below for some interiors if I've piqued your interest. The book is in stores today.