Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist(s): Mike Wolfer, Greg Waller (c)
Publisher: Avatar Press
While the Old West may have been the land of bravery and sacrifice that it is recalled to be in legends, it was most certainly a hard land filled with tough men who often did bad, bad things. The team behind Streets of Glory doesnít shy away from this in the least and creates a second chapter that is more interesting and engaging than the first.
The beginning of this issue seems to fit into the boilerplate Western that the first issue started with Charles Morrison, a rich railroad tycoon, riding into town. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Western genre knows that when a railroad owner comes into town, itís always trouble. However, Streets of Glory quickly veers away from this standard plot device to give readers a closer look at the main protagonist, Joseph Dunn. For one, Joseph has himself quite a reputation, which is illustrated by Morrison recognizing his name. Not only does this give readers an interesting way to look into Dunnís past, but it breaks Morrison out of the standard evil tycoon template. Rather than being the hard, egotistical man, the story reveals Morrison to be a very different type of egotistical man. While he is dismissive and arrogant of the people around him, Morrisonís conversation with the dismissive and surly Dunn shows him to also be a level-headed man capable of great charm. While it is most likely that Morrison will still play out as the major villain in this story, having him step out of the standard villain mold is refreshing, even if itís only for a moment.
As readers who noticed Dunnís cavalry hat surely have guessed, Dunn is a Civil War veteran and general all-around bad man. Having sought trouble his entire life, he fought in the Indian Wars after that. To the credit of the book, it doesnít sway from that, but deals directly with Dunnís involvement. It is interesting, though, that Dunnís opinion of another Indian fighter, George Custer, is that the latter man was a fool with a death wish. Dunn seems to have much in common with Custer; both men earned the loyalty of those in their command by leading from the front rather than the back, and sought trouble all of their lives. However, Custer was known for his panache and flair, and Dunn is extremely reserved, so perhaps therein lies the difference. That, and Custer was more successful at filling his death wish.
This issue also introduces a difficult romance for Dunn, which adds some humor into the book. After leading a long, lonely life it seems the aging warrior is feeling his mortality and has come to see about an old lady friend. The conversation between the two is well done and reveals even more about Dunn, particularly his faults.
The art is also better in this issue, with Dunnís face not being quite so squished up and prunish as in the first. The last few pages are not for the weak of heart, though, as the art details an act of brutality that is reminiscent of some of the most savage acts of the Old West. It also introduces another antagonist that is considerably more direct that Mr. Morrison.
While it will most likely be revealed that this evil-doer and Morrison are working together in some nefarious railroad plot, the story of Streets of Glory is an enjoyable one, if seemingly predictable. However, given the writerís obvious love of the genre and capabilities, that statement could prove to be very wrong by the time itís all over.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com
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