A highly advanced alien race decides to invade a fledgling planet and conquer it’s native inhabitants. Sound familiar? It should. It seems there is no shortage of big budget blockbuster movies slated for release this summer, there’ll be more robots in disguise, more superheroes than you can shake a cape at and more than a few pirates and priests thrown in for good measure. Then there is “Cowboys and Aliens”. Excited for this one? Well you should be.
The premise is a simple one, seen a hundred times before in comics, movies, books and video games. A technologically advanced Alien society has come to earth intent on conquering it, leaving the fledging human race to fend off an invasion of galactic proportions or face utter extinction. It is the stuff that hollywood blockbusters are made of.
Only in ” Cowboys and Aliens” we see something different. Sure on the macrocosmic level it’s all there, Spaceships, battles, brutal alien invaders, and high octane excitement. Yet when you take a step back and examine this great graphic novel under the light of the microcosm, you get a story similar in themes as the above one only far more real. Set among the back drop of the old west this tall tale begins not with laser battles among the stars but instead with the all too real threat of european settlers out the stake their claim against native americans.
Last summer saw another western comic book hit the silver screen only to be quickly disavowed by fans despite the credibility of the source material. In fact while western comics in general have seen a rise in quality over the past few years with titles like High Moon and Scalped gaining both critical and fan acclaim, the western genre in film is only just beginning to get back on track thanks to a more realistic approach. So how will “Cowboys and Aliens” compare? That’s still anyones guess one thing’s for certain though it does make for a pretty rad comic!
Here we get a cast of characters plucked straight from the dime novels of old. Two rough and tumble bodyguards intent on making their mark the only way the know how. A wayward holy man seeking to lead his people to paradise and of course a silver tongued con-man eager to make his fortune by any means necessary. Paired with a warrior tribe of apache indians intent on protecting what is theirs by rights the story opens with a bang! and then the aliens show up.
The classic invader theme is uniquely examined in the book’s prologue. However as the story progress under the masterful eyes of writers Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley the book becomes an entertainingly fresh romp through a genre that can often feel as dusty as a tumbleweed. “Cowboys and Aliens” offers excitement, history and shot of rye whiskey to top it all off.
As more and more movie studios look to comic books for inspiration, more and more film people seem to be trying to their hand at comics. Wither this a good thing or not remains to seen, but if it’s books like “Cowboys and Aliens” leading the way then all we can do is saddle up and prepare for take off!
Tagged: Andrew Foley · Cowboys & Aliens · Fred Van Lente
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