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Shaolin Cowboy: Who'll Stop The Reign? #4

    Ian Jane

  • Shaolin Cowboy: Who'll Stop The Reign? #4

    Shaolin Cowboy: Who'll Stop The Reign? #4
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: July 19th, 2017.
    Written and Illustrated by: Geof Darrow
    Purchase From Amazon

    Well, if the first three issues of this four issue mini-series written and illustrated by Geof Darrow weren't enough, it all comes down to this - the insane conclusion of the latest entry in the Shaolin Cowboy saga, Who'll Stop The Reign.

    When the last chapter begins, King Crab sits high atop the head of the Nazi white trash he's been using as a vessel of sorts, taunting our hero, egging him on and challenging him to a fight while his minions get car insurance quotes and Linked In requests on their cell phones in the background. As the Cowboy, seemingly dazed and confused after taking quite a beating, swings around those dogs with knifes for feet by their tails, the Revengers tell their tales.

    He never called her back and she died of a broken heart. He killed the guy before he even got a reply from Devry. The pizza he delivered was cold. He didn't put the seat down so Pepi fell in and drowned. Wayne LaPierre had to eat his own gun because of what he did to the N.R.A.. The list goes on - anything bad in these peoples' lives they trace back to an encounter with the Shaolin Cowboy and, rightly or not, they blame him for their misfortunes. No wonder these heavily armed, highly uneducated Trump brand clothes wearing gun nuts want a piece of our hero!

    As the horde of 'Revengers' approaches our dog swinging protagonist, he apologizes for what his 'lack of enlightenment' has caused them, but it's not enough for them, they want blood. They are, of course, no match for him, but that's all part of the crab's plan, to weaken his chi so that he can launch an attack of his own… while the pterodactyls fly, the lizards scrounge and dimwitted onlookers post selfies and Facebook posts in the never-ending quest for likes.

    When action and humor and social commentary collide in such an over the top way as they do in this series it can be a little overwhelming - sensory overload in a way - but Darrow's latest story is so completely insane that you can't help but love it. Who wouldn't want to watch a woman with a crab on her head go head to head with a pudgy martial artist in a cowboy outfit? As they battle, the banter (mostly one sided as the cowboy is a man of few words) serves as the sort of play-by-play that wouldn't feel out of place on a TV sports broadcast. And then, of course, there's the cowboy's internal monologue where he gets advice from both an old monk (“Only by dirtying your palm can you walk clean away.”) and someone who may or may not be Robert Mitchum (“That's a fine hand gun, might be time to use it!”). It's here we see the duality of his nature, where his Asian roots mingle with his American upbringing in strange but interesting ways. This fourth issue brings to a close a great story in Darrow's completely over the top manner. This one has it all - and before the last page hits, we even learn how King Crab met the woman he used as his vessel (“He grabbed my pussy and my brain.”).

    And of course, as great as this is to read, it's even more of a joy to look at. Again, with Darrow's work the devil is in the details, be it the signs in the window of a pawn shop or something more obvious like the neon emblem for the Church Of Trump (“Money saves”) hanging off of the side of a building. Lizards and pterodactyls are everywhere, dogs are constantly taking dumps and most of the humans in the book remain blissfully ignorant, numb to the onslaught of portable technology and the overabundance of advertising, product placement, religious branding and political psychobabble they're surrounded by 24/7. Dave Stewart's coloring work is the icing on the cake, that extra piece of desert from the buffet. Amitofou indeed.
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