The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly #1
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Art: Esteve Polls
Letters: Simon Bowland
Color: Mark Rueda
Expanding a fictional landscape can be a daunting task, particularly when you’re taking on some treasured source material. Thus far, Dynamite has done a solid job in interpreting the adventures of The Man With No Name in that eponymous book. Now, though, the attempt is being made to directly follow-up one of the films, with a comic version continuing one of the most beloved and acclaimed Westerns of all time. So, if you’re Dynamite, where would you begin?
Well, getting Chuck Dixon is a pretty damn good idea. Not only is Dixon a top-flight action writer, but he’s got a vast reservoir of knowledge when it comes to this particular genre. Witness his multi-page text piece on the “Spaghetti Western” at the back of the volume, which reveals him as fan, student and instructor. He has a feel for not only the subject matter, but the nuances of it.
This comes across most succinctly in the number of completely wordless panels. Leone liked to draw out particular shots for a loooooong time, and Dixon and artist Polls achieve that effect by interspersing scenes of silence or lengthy establishing shots to communicate the feel that some of the cinema carried. Likewise, the violence echoes the film by coming in quick, almost bloodless bursts. The approach was shocking to audiences of that time; and yet, while we’re more accustomed to more violent fare now, the team here still manages to make some of those moments surprise.
Polls makes a great match for Dixon. Not only does he demonstrate a fine eye for detail and help apportion the pacing with flair, he’s got a way with action scenes. There is some elegant choreography here, built on some extremely clear layouts. I’ve seen a lot of talk recently about artists that have difficulty telling the story of an action sequence with clear visuals. That DOES NOT apply to Polls. The first four pages are a clinic for any young artist trying to pull the maximum impact out of what are basically minimalistic events.
This one should be an easy choice to buy for fans of Leone, Eastwood, Westerns, Dixon and Dynamite. Frankly, even if don’t fall into those categories, you should give this a look. This is a well-crafted genre book, a fine example of creators doing a lot of things right.