I thought this book was going to be funny? Not to say that it’s not funny since it has a ton of comedic bits and dialog that’s really a hoot, but man this book is emotionally heavy. The concept of a ten year old kid working as a bounty hunter can only come across as goofy, but add in the fact that this boy is capturing his own family and suddenly… it’s a very different story. To be honest it's tied for the best book this week and I couldn’t put it down once I started.
Our ten year old Boyd Linney rolls into town riding his well-trained horse… correction, that is not his horse, but we don’t know what he means by that yet. Is the horse someone else’s or is it considered more of a friend than animal? Whose to say, as Boyd makes his way into the local bar. He’s looking for Dub Linney, but he’s not being taken serious as he’s quickly kicked out of the bar like the child he is. He grabs his real horse which is a small double barrel shot gun and heads back in and shoots up the place. He asks his questions again and this time he gets an answer. Dub is in the sheriff’s office, but now Boyd has the difficulty of getting there without being shot.
He manages to make it across the street with the aid of an old man as a shield. The problem is, the man who told him where the jail was… is the Sheriff. Boyd makes it inside and holes up against the Sheriff and his boys. He talks to his father who thinks he’s there to spring him, which he is… kind of. Boyd starts a contained fire in the jail until the Sheriff and his boys drop their weapons and back up. Boyd and his pappy make it out, but Dub’s freedom is cut short as his son turns him in for the bounty on his head.
The first story is broken up into two parts with two additional stories that follow Boyd and his exploits of hunting his family. There are several short stories that break up the chapters that are all one off’s by other creators. Frankly, I didn’t particularly care for any of these stories as they only acted as a distraction between the main tale. I’m sure for some these short western inspired shorts where great and granted the art on each one was fantastic, but I was so entranced with the main story that I didn’t want the distraction. I'm sure they originally appeared on the website much like Spera's did, but they didn't need to break up the main story.
The dialog is fantastic. It’s realistic western dialog that isn’t annoying and plays to the stereotype just enough that it still comes off sincere. The story has so much heart that I was literally shocked. The last story in particular was so damn moving that I nearly shed a tear. The first two tales highlight how messed up and tragic Boyd’s up bringing has been and so when a silver lining shows up you really root for the characters involved, but then the other shoe drops. In general the story was very deep and very moving and not the light-hearted story that I was expecting. It was a welcomed surprise for sure.
The art is very clearly influenced by Bill Waterson’s style on Calvin and Hobbes, but it’s been taken to a deeper level. Eliopoulos’ style is simple yet wonderful. Honestly, if this book wasn't a little cartoonish then its seriousness would be too much. I don’t know what more I can say about the style other than it being wonderfully colored to match the look and tone of the story.
The cartoon look makes it deceptively welcoming to the all age’s crowd. Granted, it is an all age’s book, but the deeper story is one that only an older audience will get and appreciate. For kids this will just simply be a kid bounty hunter gathering his family for a reward, while others will see it’s about doing the right thing in the face of family responsibilities. At first glance I never thought that this comic would have moved me as much as it did or get me so interested in the series that I’m frustrated by the fact that I must now wait for the next volume. Ride on Cow Boy, I’ll be here waiting for next adventure.
Writer: Nate Crosby
Artist: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Release Date: 5/23/12