Love, vengeance, family, and the dangers of the Old West are on display in Bouncer. Will the title character be able to defend his land and find love or will the unscrupulous denizens of Barro be his undoing? Is it good?
Bouncer is the collection of seven different issues, encompassing three different stories primarily centered around the title character. Writer Alexandro Jodorowsky uses a similar writing style for each of the three stories. He introduces a main plot line, captures your interest, and then introduces a seemingly unrelated plot line before eventually tying them back together via reveal sequences or confessions at the end of each story.
Each story is self-contained; although, by the final story, there are references to the previous stories and some characters do reappear. The stories, being primarily self-contained, do create some discrepancies in the continuity. For instance, in the beginning of the first story a Native American guide mentions the town of Barro has the highest Sheriff body count in the whole West, but by the second story it seems clear there has only been one Sheriff.
There are also problems with the transitions. The sequences within the three stories don’t flow together. They seem forced. For example, Bouncer will be heading out to intercept a wagon of whiskey and while on the trail he will run afoul of random gunslingers attempting to rape a young Apache girl. This forces him to arrive too late and complicates the plot. While using this type of plot device once doesn’t take away from the story, Jodorowsky uses it multiple times which makes the read stale and somewhat predictable.
During the reveal sequences, Jodorowsky also spells out why everything is happening and provides context for why certain characters are doing certain things. It’s interesting to see the thought he put into these characters’ back stories, but it doesn’t really add anything to the story.
There are some rather interesting characters in the story, although many of them are tried and true character tropes. There is the greedy landowner who attempts to become wealthier by using force to run settlers off their land. There is a utopian dreamer who hopes to gobble up the land through force in order to bring about her ideal utopia. You have the wronged boy who is filled with vengeance. You also have the trusty sidekick, the town information broker, and plenty of love interests.
The artwork by Francois Boucq is gritty and captures the rough, harsh life of Barro and the surrounding countryside. The character designs are interesting and unique, from a Confederate Captain with a glass eye to a lady hangman decked out in black from head to toe. There are a lot of unique designs that allow Boucq to flex his creative muscles while also keeping in tune with the time period.
The action sequences are well done. It is easy to tell when a pistol has been fired and where the bullet hit, whether it is a shot to the stomach or a disarming shot to an enemy gunfighter’s hand. There is also plenty of brawling with fists being thrown and glasses being cracked that depict the violent nature of Barro.
The countryside and overall landscape shots are very well done and capture the aesthetic of the Old West perfectly. He also does a great job of depicting the inside of the Inferno Saloon, reminding you of any old Western movie with a saloon.
Is It Good?
Overall Bouncer is a very long book, clocking in at 408 pages. It is very typical of what you would expect from a western, although Jodorowsky does add in a number of twists. Unfortunately, those twists seemingly come out of left field and don’t feel natural to the story at all. The artwork by Boucq is very gritty and captures the aesthetic of the Old West, really bringing the town of Barro and the surrounding countryside to life. If you are looking for a Western this is a decent one if you can get over the forced plot twists.