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Iron West Paperback – July 25, 2006
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I would HIGHLY recommend for everyone to NOT BUY this version of the book. I can almost guarantee that it will fall apart the first time you open it, which is why I'm not going to bother ordering a third copy and I'm just going to try and re-glue the binding. Thanks Image Comics for providing such a s***ty version of a great graphic novel.
Iron West's protagonist is one Preston Struck, a selfish outlaw who finds himself presented with a chance to be a hero and runs from it; several times, in fact. Fate has other plans for him, though, and as likeable scoundrels go, he's got the kind of goofy charisma that makes you believe that, underneath the bluster, there's a good, decent man.
Iron West's plot is an outlandish one featuring killer robots accidentally awakened by greedy prospectors in 1898 California, a mysterious shaman cryptically named Two Rivers, the aforementioned Sasquatch and Loch Ness Monster, the proverbial gruff sherrif and a whore with a heart of gold, and several more engaging characters, human and otherwise -- all of whom come together in a wild ride of a story that left me satisfied, but wanting more. TenNapel's black-and-white artwork is clean and distinctive and, while his pacing is full-steam ahead, his layouts are clear and flow smoothly. I wasn't aware of it until afterwards, but he's also an animator, known for his Nickelodeon show, Catscratch -- as well as the creator of the video game, Earthworm Jim -- so his storytelling skills make sense.
Iron West is the latest positive example of the new Image Comics: off-beat, entertaining, quality work by creators with distinctive voices and original stories to tell. Highly recommended.
The comic has an imaginative premise that's followed up with a great deal of action. It's 1898, and a Californian community is threatened by killer robots. As the menace approaches, outlaw Preston Struck has a choice: he can try to save the town with the help of Bigfoot and an old Indian shaman, or he can try to save his own hide. Struck picks the cowardly route, but his flight is complicated by the bounty on his head and his attraction to a woman. One can easily sympathize with this protagonist, an easygoing jokester who is essentially trying to avoid pain and death. Thus, the chases and confrontations toward the beginning of the story are engaging. They build up to a great battle that gets crazier with every page, and so the book becomes increasingly entertaining as it progresses.
TenNapel works his material with skill, and transitions beautifully between fun action and quiet, touching moments, between humor and gravity. In terms of storytelling, he's in top form. Almost everything contributes to the plot, and what may seem at first glance to be a throwaway line could be central to the story. The artwork is inspiring. The brushwork is fluid, yet precise. One sees in the characters a good sense of form, weight, and motion; they are lively, expressive, and appealing. The settings are handled with similar care, and the pages are well composed.
The book is entertaining, and the storytelling is superb. The story is worth telling, too. Beneath the surface details, the comic implicitly raises a couple of interesting questions about the sort of thing a man is. Is he hardwired to act a certain way, as the robots are, or can he choose to be better or worse? If the latter is the case, does he have obligations toward other people, or is he justified in standing apart from them? Readers who are just seeking entertainment can freely ignore the philosophical aspect of the book, which is subtle. Those who engage it, however, will find that it informs the whole and makes for a much more enjoyable read.
Iron West is an impressive work, and I highly recommend it. For those unfamiliar with TenNapel's previous comic books, this is a great place to start. Those who are familiar with his work will find Iron West to be a remarkable improvement and well worth reading.