I’ve found myself gravitating towards lesser used themes of western & horror in my comic reading recently and I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on some titles that combine the two. The latest of those is Reddin from Dead Canary Comics……
It follows bounty hunters Dean Driver & Karl Kirkwood who are on a roll with collecting the money from their chosen targets at least until their latest hunt hits the fan. Tracking down the varmints to a secret cave the supernatural elements begins to seep in as a cult’s latest worship session brings with it far more than spirits when Dean & Karl set the bullets flying. Timing couldn’t have been worse though as the evil spirit being summoned needs a body to take control over…..and that’s what it gets.
Matt Fitch & CS Baker combine the elements well as the western parts feel suitably gritty and desperate while the supernatural spirits feel powerful and relentless. A fine balancing act for sure which is accentuated perfectly by Conor Boyle’s work on art with the sinister or action-packed sequences are captured with just the right level of detail. The colouring from Greg Menzie adds to that further and it’s a rich mix of ideas that blend together well.
Throughout the book there are some 1 or 2 page interludes that tell tales of Dean & Karl’s other adventures. Written by Paul Clark-Forse with art by Scott Cooper it helps build the relationship and dependence that exist between the two but I think for me I’d have preferred if these had either been collected as an introduction to the characters or added at the end as some background of how they work together. As it stands, it feels like it disrupts the flow a bit which is a pity as both these elements of Reddin are brilliant in their own right.
Overall it’s a stunning addition to the titles Dead Canary Comics offer and my minor grumble aside the darker side of the story is unsettling while the western side is action-packed and that makes for an involving story. The strong characters and slick dialogue helps build a world that I can only hope they’ll revisit further down the line.