Cowboys and bounties, if you like these things, then you will like Boom! Studios newest title Pale Horse. The book is written by Michael Alan Nelson (Hawks of Outremer) and art by Christian Dibari. It's a story of a father and son who are bounty hunters but at the same time the father is a bounty. He's wanted for the murder of three white men. We are introduced to our protagonist Thomas, an honest black man who makes his living as a hunter/pelter. He is married to an Indian woman, and they have a child who has recently come into the world. During one his normal visits to sell his pelts, Thomas overhears three white men talking about an Indian woman, and how they had their way with her. He overheard these comments as if it were normal banter for the town.
Once Thomas finishes with his business transactions he goes back to his wife, but there is one problem. The person that the three cowboys were talking about was his wife. He sees her and asks about his son. She managed to hide the son from the three bandits, but she was not as fortunate. Thomas, in a fit of rage goes back to the town for justice. He takes his son and leaves him in the church. Thomas then goes after the men responsible for the rape and murder of his wife. He kills the men and then reclaims his son.
Years pass after that incident and we find Thomas with his now older son. The boy is around 7-8 years old. Thomas moves into another profession: A bounty hunter. He does all the work as his son watches. Throughout the whole process Thomas is teaching his son how to live in this land. He teaches his son about money, and he also teaches his son about killing. There is one catch to all this. While Thomas works as a bounty hunter, he is still a wanted man. He too has a bounty on his head for the murders that he committed but for some reason no one has come for him... or so he thinks.
The writing for the story was decent, but the only problem with the first issue of Pale Horse is that the introduction is choppy. I wasn't really sure what the story was going to be about at first, but as it progresses there is a clearer understanding. I love the idea of the book. It's a tale of a father that is a Bounty Hunter. At the same time he must teach his son everything he knows in anticipation that he won't be there for him.
The art is also very good. Chris Dirabi and Andres Lozano do a great job with the art in this book. The colors and the style go great with the storytelling giving the feel of the old west. Overall Pale Horse was a great read. I will be very interested in what direction Nelson will take the book from here and what role Thomas's son will play. This issue would be a nice fathers' day gift to any comic reading dad.
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