Best Shots Extra Advance Look: Dead Irons #1

Dead Irons covers and Jae Lee Sketches

Dead Irons covers and Jae Lee Sketches
Dead Irons covers and Jae Lee Sketches
Dead Irons #1, Jason Alexander cover

Dead Irons #1

From: Dynamite

Writer: James Kuhoric

Art: Jason Shawn Alexander (Art Direction and Main Cover by Jae Lee)

Review by Troy Brownfield

Dead Irons, the forthcoming horror-western from Dynamite, already has a lot of checks in the Plus column. There’s the art of Jason Shawn Alexander, a terrific stylist. There’s Dynamite’s always top-notch production values. And there’s secret weapon James Kuhoric.

What do I mean by that? Well, Kuhoric has been doing an entertaining job with Army of Darkness for a while now. His run with Kevin Sharpe on art was a high point of the book, juxtaposing horror and humor to good Raimi-an effect. Here, though, Kuhoric gets to lean much further on the horror side, and it’s not really surprising to see that he’s damn good at it. Kuhoric and Alexander build a considerable atmosphere of menace in the first installment, driven by occasionally unsettling visuals and brisk pacing.

It’s fair to say that Dead Irons probably draws some influence from things like “Deadlands” or “Werewolf: The Wild West”, two gaming systems that I was familiar with over a decade ago. However, Kuhoric’s wrapped some of those familiar weird west trappings around a family saga, the first shocking seeds of which bear fruit by issue’s end. The idea of vampires and werewolves in the Wild West might get in you in the door, but you can tell that Kurhoric’s out to build a real narrative here.

Jae Lee art directed this mini, just as John Cassaday did for The Lone Ranger. And while you can see some of Lee’s influence here and there, the visual force is all Alexander’s. The sparse backgrounds and occasionally sketchy character renderings charge the whole enterprise with a powerfully bleak feel. The visuals seem more like the furtively glimpsed flashbacks in High Plains Drifter than your typical panorama-filled gunslinger saga.

I quite enjoyed this first issue. Kuhoric knows the ropes and the tropes, and he’s bringing everything together in an interesting fashion. Alexander’s visuals are flat out great, and add more appeal to an already easy-to-sell premise. If you’re any kind of horror or western nut, Dead Irons should go on your order sheet today.

Dead Irons #1 is due in stores in February from Dynamite Entertainment.

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