Overview

Texas Strangers #1

Review

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Texas Strangers #1

Credits

  • Words: Antony Johnston & Dan Evans
  • Art: Mario Boon
  • Inks: Mario Boon
  • Colors: Traci Hui
  • Story Title: Training Day, Pt. 1
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Mar 28, 2007

On an Earth not our own, magic and fantasy meet the old west as young siblings Wyatt and Madara embark on a quest to return a cursed dagger to its home.

Writers Antony Johnston and Dan Evans create another entry in the often slim field of all-ages comics. With Texas Strangers, however, they attempt to blend a number of influences – westerns, alternative history, and fantasy. The world that the characters of Wyatt and Madara inhabit is one that looks decidedly different from our own – "Native Americans" consist of Elves and other magical beings, the United States is extremely un-united, and Texas is an independent nation. Thankfully, Johnston and Evans provide a set-up page (complete with map) to orient readers to this world before embarking on the story. Still, one wonders; with the blending of all these influences, is Texas Strangers biting off more than it can chew?

When Madara finds a strange knife among her father’s things she and her brother Wyatt take it to the local Shaman. The wise man warns that the object has dark overtones, ones which are now tied to Madara! The only way to lay this potential evil to rest is to take the knife back where it came from… so the next thing readers know Wyatt and Madara are embroiled in a saloon brawl with a gang of baddies in Texas! A couple of lawmen, known as Texas Strangers, help the kids out of that situation but a stolen necklace leads the two young troublemakers right back into the thick of things.

In addition to all the genre influences, Johnston and Evans pack in a lot of plot as well. Although the story travels well enough, some of the shifts in scene are a bit abrupt and the non-stop action does not give readers a chance to really feel they get to know Wyatt and Madara well. In fact, the two come off as rather stereotypical bickering siblings with Madara the traditional tomboyish spitfire and Wyatt taking the quieter, more levelheaded role. Older readers will also see the plot points being roped together as opposed to fully feeling like an organic flow from the story. The writers do, however, use, spin, and cleverly adapt a number of western tropes including saloon brawls, poker games, evil bandit gangs, and a reverse gender damsel in distress.

The art by Mario Boon fits this title as well in that it has the look, feel, and energy of traditional, hand drawn cel animation. The colors by Traci Hui add to this impression with a bright, eye-catching palette.

Younger readers will gloss over some of the creakier plot bits and likely enjoy the fast pacing and non-stop action. They will also find some cheerable heroes in Wyatt, Madara, and the Texas Strangers. Older readers, however, may find themselves hoping for a bit more polish and characterization in the coming issues.

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