ADVANCE REVIEW: Kingsway West #1

Posted July 29, 2016 by Henry Wong in Comic Books

Please note this issue is not on sale until August 24th. FOC August 1st JUN160043

Written by: Greg Pak

Art by: Mirko Colak & Wil Quintana

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Greg Pak. He should be everybody’s hero comic book writer. He’s willing to break down barriers and push forward his ideas, even if they seem risky. As soon as Kingsway West was offered, and I heard it was being written by Greg Pak and it was going to be some sort of Studio Ghibli/Western mix, I knew I had to read it. I just knew it would be original, creative and absolutely engrossing. And it is. It is all of that and more.

One of the first pages encountered is a map of an alternate America and very brief back story about the state of affairs. I always enjoy reading alternate history fiction because they usually involve some level of reasonable “what-if?” creative thinking. In some ways, I did draw some parallels from this comic to East of West, but they aren’t so similar that you would think Pak copied Hickman. Pak just does a good job keeping alternate history creative, yet original. Without spoiling too much, Pak does a great job fleshing out the details of his universe, from the tension between the different factions, to what kind of sentiments currently exist. Enough to keep you wanting to follow along, but not so much that it feels like I was reading an encyclopedia. For this, I am glad. Nobody wants to feel drained from a sense of tedium before even finishing the first issue of a new comic.

The artistic direction of the comic is also something that has to be applauded (Thanks Mirko Colak and team!). The mix of Chinese and 1800’s era American clothing, weapons and stereotypical western movie speech is truly original and creative. Neither cultural influence overpowers the other but instead, blend into each other very nicely, which is definitely something anyone would expect in a Chinese influenced version of the American Wild West. The magical elements throughout this first issue do linger in the “atmosphere” of the panels but there is not an abundance of it. Yet. I can feel that magic plays a major role, but as of the end of issue one, I don’t know what exactly that role is. Sort of like when we first see the Weirwood tree in Game of Thrones.

With his Red Skull partner, Mirko Colak, Greg Pak introduces us to a fascinating original series. He even manages to throw in a very well-done cliffhanger at the end of the issue. From the fantastic way the universe is introduced to the extraordinary level of artistic detail and creativity, Kingsway West has the makings of an exciting adventure. It definitely made an impression on me and I can only wait until the next issue comes out. (Thank you Dark Horse Comics, for publishing something this unique!)

About the Author

Henry Wong