Review - Fistful of Blood #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"Time to throw down!"

Revisiting older stories is a worthwhile endeavor when those stories are worth revisiting. One such story is Fistful of Blood #1 from IDW Publishing, offering the update treatment to an older work. The issue is written and illustrated by Kevin Eastman and Simon Bisley and colored by Tomi Varga.

In a re-release of the same work fifteen years ago, a mysterious woman winds up in a small town in the old west. There are some townsfolk who don't take too kindly to strangers and plan to have their way with her, but of course she's hiding a lot more than they're expecting.

There's a lot of dialogue in Fistful of Blood #1 and none of it comes from the main character. Eastman and Bisley have written a lead character who's not shy about defending herself, especially when she's thrust into a situation where she's struggling to find her bearings. It's written as an homage to Fistful of Dollars, yet Eastman and Bisley have mashed in elements such as zombies and the lead character is a half-naked woman. And considering the story originally ran in Heavy Metal magazine 15 years ago, the story still holds up pretty well. Much of the narration is handled by the barkeeper as he attempts to converse with the woman; Eastman and Bisley uses these conversations to great effect as a means of filling in the reader on the details of the world she finds herself in.

Neither Eastman nor Bisley are shy about rendering the lead character as anything short of voluptuous. She clearly fits the Heavy Metal look for women, as her chest is always prominently displayed in every panel. Her appearance is a sharp contrast to that of the decaying cowboys around her, all of whom sport all manner of open wounds and oozing entrails. The art overall is extremely dingy, accentuating the gritty western setting that is referenced to as serving for a set in Fistful of Dollars. Varga's colors are just as roughshod as the illustrative style, blending together yellows and greens to give the book a filthy look to it.

For an issue where the main character doesn't say a word, there's a lot going on in Fistful of Blood #1. The nameless heroine squares off against all manner of foe, many of whom are keen on taking advantage of a seemingly helpless damsel in distress. Eastman and Bisley write her as anything but, imbuing her with characteristics of a gunslinger more than capable of holding her own. The dirty artwork effectively conveys the atmosphere intended, as the wild west town has clearly seen better days. Fistful of Blood #1 relies on over-sexualizing its main character as a means of reinforcing her combat abilities, pitting her against cowboy zombies who want nothing more than to maintain the status quo.

Fistful of Blood #1 is in stores now.