Page 45 Review by Stephen
The original SHAOLIN COWBOY finally back in print after a good decade or more in the wilderness.
"How charmingly Asian of you
"And without the aid of wires."
Honey, you have never seen a kung-fu flick with such slick choreography, frozen-framed here for detailed analysis as only a comic can do!
Even the noble and nimble Jackie Chan would bow to Geof Darrow's superiority as nigh-on a hundred vengeful varmints queue behind King Crab, a somewhat self-involved crustacean whose entire family and prospective wife were once gorged on by the Shaolin Cowboy in search of a sea-food platter. I can assure you that these revengers will be disassembled in no uncertain terms, and will learn the true meaning of the term gut-punch.
First, though, they stand in line
in a sequence of double-page spreads so deliciously self-indulgent - so hilariously inexhaustible all the way to the fly-clouded portable loo - that you cannot help but cackle. This is the artist, remember, who rendered Frank Miller's HARD BOILED in all its gore-strewn glory and his detail exceeds even the great George Pérez. Pore over the Alton-Towers-long queue with its cats, parakeets and monkeys, its tattoos, handcuffs and (warning) cock rings. It demands that you do so!
This is a man relishing his craft, drawing for the sheer joy of it. The landscapes are epic with gigantic geological outcrops, while the skies coloured predominantly by Peter Doherty are a lambent, pollution-free blue. Then when those geological features start moving
There's a scene here which I feel sure inspired another in Brandon Graham's original MULTIPLE WARHEADS, as a city-sized dinosaur actually carries an industrial citadel on its back. Venture down its gullet and in its stomach-sewer depths you'll find a great big, bloody shark, presumably acting as a digestive enzyme.
Like Beat Takeshi, The Shaolin Cowboy himself is a man of few words, leaving those for his sun-visored, hip-hop-hating horse who has quite the thing for Robert Mitchum. The script is packed with political and cultural satire but remains light, bright and breezy. It's all about the acrobatics instead.
Very, very funny scene when a sentient skull is cleaved in two, its subsequent speech balloons equally bisected.
Continued in SHAOLIN COWBOY: SHEMP BUFFET then SHAOLIN COWBOY: WHO'LL STOP THE REIGN.