Overview

Rawhide Kid #1

Review

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Rawhide Kid #1

Credits

  • Words: Ron Zimmerman
  • Art: Howard Chaykin
  • Colors: Edgar Delgado
  • Story Title: "The Sensational Seven"
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 9, 2010

It would be foolish to assume children or even teenagers still read comics, so any "parental advisory" regarding content in this latest offering from Marvel Comics seems ridiculous and more self-serving unless it's to warn potential homophobic readers about the main character. Unlike the 2003 mini-series published by Marvel's adult imprint MAX, the new Rawhide Kid four-issue limited series is distributed solely by Marvel. While Marvel should get credit for not simply relegating another installment of an openly homosexual hero into its MAX lineup, it is doubtful that anyone not familiar with the character or interested in the Western genre will give this book its due.

Written by Ron Zimmerman, who also penned the 2003 MAX mini-series, "The Sensational Seven" story opens with the Rawhide Kid returning to Tombstone to visit Wyatt and Morgan Earp. Zimmerman's flair for humor and his strong abilities at story pacing are vividly present in this opening sequence as the Kid rides into town and encounters a rather hostile and violent public. Upon entering the Sheriff's office, he is shocked to find Annie Oakley a prisoner of her own choosing. The conversation between the two is deliberately off-base and quite funny, and as such, it's a relief to find an innovative interpretation on what tends to be a rather stale genre for comic book development with Western-themed books.

Perhaps the most hilarious scene, however, is in the prison cell where an alcoholic inmate manipulates the Earp brothers into a game of fisticuffs for his own amusement. Poking fun at not only the Western genre, but also the linguistic capabilities and education of his characters, Zimmerman accomplishes here what in lesser-hands would fall into patronizing insults or simply feel as something tacked on and not a cohesive part of the larger story. What is equally remarkable about this book is Zimmerman's abilities to weave fun and engaging story without descending into soap-boxing or preaching to his audiences as he maintains the Kid's sexuality as a underlying, central aspect of the story.

One of the most enjoyable moments throughout the issue though is the blending of both history and fiction as characters from both worlds interact. This is something that is beautifully depicted by artist Howard Chaykin and colorist Edgar Delgado on the second-to-last page as Rawhide Kid assigns a new sheriff to Tombstone in his place while he and Annie seek out the Earp brothers. Combined with the amazing cover by John Cassaday, the interior work of Chaykin and Delgado truly begs for the creation of new adjectives to describe their work. Rarely are Westerns this fun or entertaining, and a large part of that is due to the sensational panels and layouts by Chaykin and Delgado.

While DC has the dark and gritty West covered by Jonah Hex and Vertigo has its own spin on a modern Western noir crime with Scalped, Marvel has stepped in to fill a much needed void in the genre with Rawhide Kid #1. Here's hoping that the four-issue limited series becomes an ongoing addition to the Marvel catalog.

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