Most of us have done things in our past that we regret. But Moses Stone, a bounty hunter turned sheriff, appears to have rather more skeletons in his closet than most. When an almost mythical bounty hunter called El Diablo stalks into his town and murders a group of men apparently guilty of little more than a bit of rabble-rousing, Stone feels the need to wade in.
The trouble is, El Diablo seems to have powers beyond that of normal men – more like a spirit of vengeance than a common bounty hunter. He proves more than a match for Stone, leaving him alive but with a clear message that his dark past is not as well hidden as he hoped. There’s only one thing for it – Stone decides to raise a posse, leaves his beautiful young wife weeping on the doorstep, and steps back into the mists of his past to try and save his future.
The writing sees Azzarello at his darkest. Every turn of the page adds another layer of darkness on Stone’s bleak history. The pace of these revelations, as well as Stone’s quick-fire attempts to keep them hidden, is blistering. This is no drawn-out, protracted, Sergio Leone sort of Western – it’s an altogether more modern piece of work, smearing our faces with the full horror of America’s lawless past until we, too, are dripping with blood.
It’s a fabulous piece of writing, and the art is equally well matched, disappearing into the fabric of the story almost immediately, becoming invisible, leaving you thinking of nothing other than where this whirlwind of chaos and lawlessness is going to end. But end it must, after four short chapters. It’s a roller-coaster ride though and, if it leaves you wanting more, you can find Azzarello and Zezelj collaborating on a Western theme again in the ongoing Loveless.
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