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To Hell You Ride

    Todd Jordan
    Smut is good.

  • To Hell You Ride

    Published by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: December 17th, 2013.
    Writers: Lance Henriksen, Jospeh Maddrey
    Artists: Tom Mandrake
    Cover: Tom Mandrake
    Purchase at Amazon

    In the late 1880s, during the Gold Rush, the hordes of miners looking to find their fortunes couldn't have carde less about the sacred burial grounds of the Native Americans who were there long before the white man started stealing their lands. As a result, four warriors, each armed with an arrow, performed a ritual of atonement: an arrow for each of the four directions on a compass. One arrow for wisdom, one for new beginnings, one for darkness, the last being fire. The man who launched the arrow would then run directly into its path to be impaled, sacrificing himself for the greater good of his people. Two of the four arrows never reached their target, and nether arrow ever landed, because the miners watching decided to kill two of the warriors for fun.

    Loner, drunkard, and a joke in his town, Seven George just doesn't care about anything. Called Two-Dogs by the towns people (presumably after the old joke about the Indian Chief naming his sons), he lost his father Six George as a boy and was watched over by his father's friend and fellow Vietnam veteran, Sheriff Shipps. Still acting as a father figure of sorts, his concern for Seven George is the same as it always had been.

    One drunken evening, Seven George actually finds one of the arrows inside of a tree that was struck by lightning. What transpires is Seven George's embracing his destiny to finish the ritual, and for Sheriff Shipp to finally get some closure on the mid-fuck war does to a person. Things get supernatural, as there are Watchers floating around that only George can see and they are not the friendly variety of spirit. There is also the town mayor having artificial snow made to try and pump some life into the town, which hadn't seen snow in so long the ski resort was closed up tight. But his technique of having the snow made is little more than an attempt to dick Mother Nature, and she doesn't care for that. Things get…messy.

    The two writers craft a tale that is multi-layered but not so much that it trips over itself. It's a fast read, great story, and an interesting main character. Seven George's transformation is smooth and pretty gradual within the pages, which for this reader kept things based more in reality. His going from a flannel wearing drunk to a loin-cloth wearing warrior doesn't happen with a simple lightning strike and finding the arrow. It takes him time and pain to accept who he is and what he has to do. The back story material is also interesting, which jumps around a little from the 1880s, to pre-WWII, to the mid 70s. Seven George's father, Six George, was damaged so heavily by the horrors of the Vietnam War that he gave up living. Seven George's grandfather, Five George, was framed for murder and lynched. These tales play into Seven George's “becoming” and Five George's tale would make for an interesting prequel.

    The artwork Tom Mandrake, who's been around a long time, is perfect for this story. It steers clear of being flashy and too busy, helping create a great balance of interest between the script and the pictures. Too much flash would totally take away from such an engaging tale, and he keeps it right at the threshold of being too much. His nighttime snow scenes are among the best panels in the book. And he can certainly draw gore and nastiness, and he gives the reader a good helping of that. Mandrake's covers for this series (a five issue one) are very traditional looking, but they show exactly what to expect from the insides. As amazing and beautiful as painted covers are, and as cool as it is to have different artists working from the same storyline, often the covers are the best part of the book. From start to finish its his translation of the story we see, and the consistency that brings helps prevent the story from being broken up by someone else's cover art in the middle of things.

    A great story, fitting and pleasing artwork, snow that will melt you into fluids, and some good old fashioned Indian burial ground desecration make this supernatural book one to check out for sure.

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