Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Strangeways: Murder Moon

Matt Maxwell & Luis Guaragna
With the sequel to the first Strangeways graphic novel, Strangeways: Murder Moon, beginning to be serialized at Newsarama (this time with vampires called Strangeways: The Thirsty), I thought it would be appropriate to read and review that initial book in the series featuring werewolves in the Old West. The book follows Seth Collins (as does the new series), a former officer in the Army who travels to the town Silver Branch, seeking his sister who's written him for help. Unfortunately, once in the area, his wagon is attacked and all of the other passengers are murdered by a monster, save himself and a friend. It turns out that the town is being terrorized by a werewolf, and the citizens are eager to kill first, ask questions later with the new faces arriving in town.
So, fun premise. I'm not very excited about Westerns in general, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the story pretty engrossing. Unfortunately, there are quite a few cliches in the book, including a cocky "bad" sheriff lording over the town and an origin for the wolves tied to the local Native Americans (a backstory after the main story goes in depth into the origin story - it's pretty unnecessary). Aside from Seth Collins, the characters are all pretty much cardboard cut-outs, and as a result, I felt little in the way of anxiety for anyone's safety, although there were a few tense moments with Mr. Collins himself. The ending was a complete let-down. But there were some really fun action scenes involving the wolf and the mystery surrounding it, and I certainly wasn't bored by the plot. I just hope that there's something new in the follow-up to this book. It's one thing to come up with a cool premise like werewolves in the Old West, but treating the werewolves as werewolves, and the Old West like the Old West is just like reading a werewolf book or a Western. The two ideas should play off each other more than they did here and become something new that wasn't there before, instead of just regurgitating ideas that we've seen before.

No comments: