WesterNoir Book Two
- Words: Dave West
- Art: Gary Crutchley
- Story Title: The Crocodile Tears of the Louisiana Swamp Men
- Publisher: Accent UK
- Price: £3.50
- Release Date: Dec 17, 2012
Posted by Andy Oliver on Mar 26, 2013
This is work where solid, escapist storytelling is always the priority and simply weaving an entertaining yarn seems almost to be a mission statement.
When we last left Josiah Black – troubled gunman with a shadowy past – in the first book of horror/Western series WesterNoir, he had found himself a new mission in life. In Book Two that quest to hunt down the dark supernatural forces that inhabit the shadows of the world of WesterNoir sees him drawn to the Louisiana swamps. In this malevolent bayou setting Black will discover the link between a recent spate of missing women, a mad Sobek-worshipping priestess, and the bizarre crocodile men that haunt this murky environment...
When I reviewed the opening instalment of this series at Broken Frontier a couple of months back I was struck with how effectively creators Dave West and Gary Crutchley had fused genres in building this hybrid narrative world. With Book Two I am reminded more and more of a similar project some years back: the Joe Lansdale/Timothy Truman take on Jonah Hex for Vertigo in the ‘90s that took the underlying sense of brooding darkness in Hex’s 1970s series and transformed it into something more literal. There’s the same canny juggling of Old West standards with the familiar themes of supernatural-based drama on show here and, unlike many of the cross-genre offerings to swamp the market in recent memory, WesterNoir manages to combine elements from both worlds without the result feeling contrived, awkward, or clumsy.
For the second issue in a row we have a gorgeously realised “distressed” cover to give the book a suitably pulpy feel in terms of presentation. Gary Crutchley’s black and white art is a match for the first part in its morbid moodiness; tight, detailed, and firmly rooted in a gritty realism that only serves to make those more grotesque and exaggerated elements of the plot all the more horrific when the reader is confronted by them.
What I particularly like about the Accent UK books I’ve read to date is that no one is attempting to reinvent the wheel here. This is work where solid, escapist storytelling is always the priority and simply weaving an entertaining yarn seems almost to be a mission statement. If you like your protagonists to be verging on the periphery of anti-hero and your comics to be good old-fashioned diverting fun then you really can’t go far wrong with what West and Crutchley are achieving with WesterNoir. A cracking good read for when you need a little distraction from life’s daily grind.
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