Deadlands: Death Was Silent


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Deadlands: Death Was Silent


  • Words: Ron Marz, C. Edward Sellner
  • Art: Bart Sears, Alejandro Aragon
  • Colors: Michael Atiyeh
  • Story Title: Death Was Silent, Prey
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 22, 2011

A mute cowboy, a bar full of plant-people zombies, and a shotgun in the face of a child? It's all standard fare for Deadlands, the RPG over a decade in running. With a new one-shot, Death Was Silent, Ron Marz and Bart Sears tackle the sci-fi supernatural western franchise with their own tale. Covering their back is another Dime Novel portion by C. Edward Sellner and Alejandro Aragon.

Riding into a town out of the way, Hoyt Cooper is a gunslinger with a story. He won't talk your ear off about it, as his tongue was cut off by savages. When a simple night at the bar with a bounty rotting on his horse goes from relaxing to gun-slinging, Hoyt's mission is revealed: kill them all. Is he the bad guy or the hero in this story? He does put a shotgun point blank in a child's face, making him a hero to the masses of those who can't stand annoying children. In the back-up, a gunslinging legend watches as a Native American shaman named Fire Dancer fights off werewolves.

One of the fears going into a one-shot based a long-running series you've never looked in or even heard of is that you'll be so lost in the plot, nothing will make sense. One-shots based off established brands can go many different ways: character focus stories that don't fit in the main narrative, side-stories done by a different crew, or other bits that rely on the main story for explanations. Death Was Silent effectively negates all these problems. If the mute gunslinger has existed in other stories, there's nothing that's not explained in this story. He's mute, he has a magic chalkboard reminiscent of Awesome Andy from Dan Slott's She-Hulk run, and he has a zombie friend. His task is simple. The Dime Novel backup is less so, but much like many stories in the back of books (reminiscent of DC's small run of Second Features), it really only is a few pages in a short story. Things have to move fast, and there's not much time allotted for catching up.

The art in the book is perfectly suited for its audience; it's an Image western, and looks like what you'd expect. Of note is the great inking by Sears; while his characters may not be attractive or physically endearing, it's a dark and stormy night in this story, and the effect is great. Atiyeh uses a limited pallette, but given the era, it's what you'd expect.

Death Was Silent is a great little one-shot that reads fine on its own, regardless of being part of franchise. Fans of Deadlands may get something else out of the book, but new eyes will enjoy it.

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