Tony Black reviews High Noon Rising #1…
A new, completed first issue of independent web comic High Noon Rising from Irish writer James Mulholland, after releasing a page daily online, the collected opening story ‘The Men We Become’ turns out to be an entertaining if fairly run of the mill tale of Old West gunslingers and the classic concept of good men being dragged back into bad trouble. Though despite being riven with cliche, and at times betraying its amateur roots, it’s a tale and a comic with clear potential.
Following a preamble set in Arkansas of 1845, where we meet young Ben and see his hard edged, trigger happy father fight off a gang of robbers, the action switches to 1886 at the tail end of the Old West where middle aged Ben has a wife Mary-Ann, a son Jason, and has left behind a world of violence inherited from his father. Mulholland’s tale is a spiked story of fathers and sons, of sons living up to fathers and whether or not they can escape their shadow, or are doomed to repeat their mistakes, and the dying embers of the American West provide a sunset of a setting to a story which could get very bloody and violent very quickly. This is all about scene setting, establishing character and place, while triggering the main through-line of the story. It’s all relatively predictable, and at times unfortunately the dialogue suffers from spelling errors that I want to think may be intentional to intone the period of the piece, but I suspect are mistakes.
Nonetheless, Mulholland’s writing–alongside inking from Rowel Roque–has the promise of a classic revenge Western story, if he manages to maintain a hard boiled sense of stark period distance and cold violence, alongside the familial father/son themes that drive the piece. It’s a solid beginning which I’m interested to see develop, and see where this old Western drama may go.
Tony Black is a freelance film/TV writer & podcaster & would love you to follow him on Twitter.
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