Dark Horse Comics’ newest series, Kingsway West is a Western-themed, fantasy adventure with magic and creatures galore! This genre-mashing tale is written by Greg Pak – someone with plenty of experience creating fresh takes on classic story scenarios (my favorite being his World War Hulk) – with artwork from Mirko Colak and Wil Quintana.
Kingsway is an older gentleman hiding out in the wilderness, living a quiet life with his wife, Sonia. But due to his actions during a war thirteen years earlier, he developed a certain reputation and level of fame. It isn’t long before his skills are needed again, and Kingsway is called to action by a mysterious woman with a red-gold sword.
There’s a lot to absorb in Kingsway West #1, which is a good thing and a bad thing. There’s a lot of jumping around in time, and for an issue that is meant to introduce readers to a new world, it gets a bit confusing at times. This first issue also doesn’t provide much of an initial set-up for where the story will go; nothing is given a second to breathe or gain any real weight.
Beyond those minor problems, everything introduced in Kingsway West #1 is extremely entertaining. The flawed and reformed monster of a hero, the magical resource everyone is after, the vast world filled with amazing creatures and landscapes – it all adds up to a very promising look at Pak’s vision of a fantasy-western world.
While the issue’s timeline may get a little confusing, it’s still possible to follow along thanks to the artwork. Colak and Quintana do the heavy lifting as far as setting up a new world for readers to jump into and their creature designs are a particular standout. Most of the animals in this book are like nightmare versions of animals we see in real life – which is awesome.
The action is another highlight, with a specific face-exploding, eyeball-popping panel standing out as a major achievement for the art team. There’s also a ton of characters depicted throughout this issue and none of them ever look too much alike, which is a huge accomplishment in itself.
Kingsway West isn’t a perfect home-run when it comes to an introductory issue for a series, but it is a really entertaining book. It definitely does the job in introducing its themes, characters, and setting, giving readers more than enough reason to check out issue #2. The overall attitude is a creative blend of the magic and Western genre. Greg Pak’s vision for this book is big and bright, and I very much look forward to seeing this universe unfold.