Some monks may need a period of quiet reflection but if the number of zombie deaths in this series is any indication, the Shaolin Cowboy could use a century. The concluding issue hits today and we’ve got the 411 on the cowboy as he wraps up a massive amount of zombie killing. Is it good?
The Shaolin Cowboy #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
Check out our review of issue #2 here.
I skipped reviewing the last issue mostly because it was one long monk versus zombies sequence done up in two page spreads and nothing more. It was highly detailed by Geof Darrow and a person could spend minutes ogling each page, but it just wasn’t reviewable due to a lack of story. The final issue does continue the zombie fighting, albeit with a lot more flourish in the layouts, but also contains a sensible conclusion that ties back to the first issue. If you aren’t interested in Darrow’s exceptionally detailed art you can probably save yourself the trouble and stop reading this review right here. Without a desire to see his work there’s not much here for you.
The first 28 pages of this issue are the monk continuing his disassembling of zombie flesh with his bare fists. Luckily Darrow didn’t continue the two page spread look from last issue and instead mixes things up very nicely presentation-wise. The first page for instance, opens with 16 panels encircling the oncoming zombies, which is a cool way to show our kung fu master preparing for the next wave of war.
This issue uses interesting comic strip-esque panels, wider than they are tall. This pulls the reader along through the goretastic action nicely. As the monk takes out the remaining zombies, Darrow employs two pages of 24 panels each that increases the intensity and speed of the sequence.
I have to say, watching the monk take out every single zombie is quite a feat. It’s always fun to see how he’s killing these monsters but also his determination and skill. This all compounds the ending which nobody will see coming. There’s a bit of dark humor at work here, but also a tragic sense of powerlessness. I won’t ruin it, but it’s not the most uplifting ending, but there’s still a positive end in a sense.
- Satisfying conclusion
- Great use of layouts to keep things interesting
- The art is repetitive to say the least
- Conclusion is a bit out of left field, especially if you didn’t read the first issue
Is It Good?
Anyone who hasn’t been reading a long might be completely lost as far as how this book concludes, but at the same time this issue contains everything that’s made this series good in the last few. Save for the exceptionally hilarious introduction in the first issue, this issue tops them all. There’s a conclusion, a ton of incredible layouts and plenty of detailed art that rivals anything that came before it.