Overview

The Shaolin Cowboy #5

Review

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The Shaolin Cowboy #5

Credits

  • Words: Geofrey Darrow, Andy & Larry Wachowski
  • Art: Geofrey Darrow
  • Inks: Geofrey Darrow
  • Colors: Peter Doherty and Lovern Kindzierski
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Burlyman Entertainment
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Apr 12, 2006

The Shaolin Cowboy, his ass, his baby, and a talking head on a sword battle hip-hop slang talking Chi 8 and a walking city monster...thing.

The Shaolin Cowboy and friends are besieged by the Chi 8 who bring to life a giant monster with a cesspool of a city growing out of its rocky back. While the ass and the baby are able to escape the beast’s mouth, everyone’s favorite silent cowboy and the impaled head of Mr. Excellent are swallowed and enter into a whole new world of grotesqueries. Of course, though there are many distractions, the cowboy figures out an ingenious, MacGyver-esque way to get out of the belly of the beast. But will his chainsaws on a stick plan actually work? Will he be in time to save his baby and his ass, especially when Mr. Excellent is up to no good?

While the intro by the Wachowskis is amusing, I read The Shaolin Cowboy because it is Geofrey Darrow’s finest work. From the genre-bending story to the masterfully rendered art that shows detail in every line, it is obvious he is telling the story he wants to tell. While his story may be a bit too bizarre for the faint of heart, it is definitely up this fan’s alley.

In issue #5, the cowboy is swallowed whole while the ass has to deal with the Chi 8 and protect the baby. The donkey’s interaction with the Chi 8 is as hilarious as the cowboy’s ordeal inside the beast is disgusting. While the cowboy is just trying to stay alive, the donkey, whose tail has been cut half off, is using his wits to threaten, cajole, and prod the Chi 8 into leaving him alone. At one point he tells them to "...stay back! Having a baby has my hormonal balance way off whack and I’m capable of anything and everything!" But perhaps this diffusion of the meaning of the words "having a baby" and some of the ass’s other musings can only truly be appreciated by an English teacher.

If you are not an English teacher, you will however get some enjoyment out of the cowboy’s time in the belly. Darrow’s art is incomparable. From the double page spread of the outside of the monster called the Encyclical City of Chi 8 to the inner workings of the beast’s stomach, everything is, in a word, clear. His lines are sharp, precise, and purposeful. The images, whether they are something as grand as the contrasting clear blue sky with the harsh, dry desert landscape or something as standard as the contents on the ass’s pack, are all meaningful. Even the tiniest pencil scratch serves a greater good—to make this one of the finest drawn works of art ever seen. Darrow takes his time and does everything right.

Unlike many comic book artists, he draws what is supposed to be there, not the impression of it. Because it is Darrow’s work, I am thankful. I could not create these beautiful or disgusting images in my mind. And at times, I wouldn’t want to. The inside of the monster is a dark, foreboding place filled with dead bodies, smaller monsters, carrion birds, and sharks. There are also broken down cars, lizards, and something of a sewer system that Darrow makes all work together happily in a world which appears to be straight from the nightmares of Roald Dahl.

I will always be happy while reading The Shaolin Cowboy, even though I may not always understand what is going on or see everything in the art that needs to be seen. But that is why I read it a second and third time. And with a teaser at the end promising Peter Benchley would "approve" of the next issue, not only am I excited about rereading #5, but I can’t wait for #6!

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