Note: A preview of the first several pages of this book are available by visiting the page linked to in the title of this post.
This won’t be long since it’s a TenNapel book (EDIT: nevermind). Doug TenNapel created Earthworm Jim, Catscratch and a bunch of other awesome stuff including the fantastic graphic novel Creature Tech. I pretty follow anything he does; you might say I’m a bit gay for the TenNapel.
Iron West is another in a line of solid graphic novels. In this one there is an old west town tormented by self-aware robots. I will not reveal any more than that because the back cover does and I STRONGLY CAUTION AGAINST READING IT since it partially ruined things for me. Some of the different characters that show up would have provided a much bigger “gee-whiz” factor for me had the idiot from Ain’t It Cool News (aren’t there many of them? I kid but seriously those guys have questionable tastes) not listed them all on the back of the book. Kinda like how some movie trailers these days show WAY too much (LotR, X2, etc…).
It was still a very enjoyable read. There is really only one criticism that I could level against the book and that is the lack of depth/backstory for the main character. Creature Tech and Earthboy Jacobus both featured such fully fleshed out protagonists that it added invaluably to the depth and impact of the story. Iron West‘s protagonist is only shown as a child twice if I’m not mistaken and just jumps right into the conflict, moving along at a healthy clip. Both of the afore-mentioned other works of TenNapel do so at times as well but are also peppered with slower and more revealing moments where the reader gets to really get absorbed into the story more. My guess is that this is perhaps either the result of criticism previously applied to the author’s methods and/or something TenNapel has strived to achieve for this story in the interest of brevity. I can only say that I miss the old style.
If you are reading all of these reviews (my guess is most are not, so don’t think I’m conceited here) you will notice this as a continual complaint of mine since I tend ot opt for what I like to refer to as more deliberate, or considered storytelling. I like something with some deep dramatic meat to it and not just a bunch of quick and shallow entertainment when it comes to comics, well for the most part.
Overall Iron West is a book I am very glad to have read and look forward to the next output of this man’s brain.
*This book was another gift from Marshal Blessing for the rememberance day of my birth 26 years ago. Google him and be amazed at his resume which includes building tentacle robots.