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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

In Review: WesterNoir Book Two

After the Old West of the first book, writer Dave West and artist Gary Crutchley take us to America's Deep South where demon hunter Josiah Black is battling a new supernatural enemy in Accent UK's WesterNoir Book Two - The Crocodile Tears Of The Louisiana Swamp Men.

Former Sheriff Josiah Black is sent to the Louisiana swamps to discover the truth about a family of supposed alligator-men and to deal with them. However, once there, he discovers that the family have female prisoners and rescuing them is about to make his job all the more difficult.

It would be easy to have made this is straightforward story of a hired killer rescuing damsels from demons but it is to writer Dave West's credit that he twists the story about as we jump back and forth in the narrative learning more about Josiah Black, the creatures and their various women-folk as we do. Black muses on past deeds as he works to rescue the trapped women and this section, where the text boxes are not directly about the action in the panels yet both sections of the story are steadily progressed, is one of the reasons that helps WesterNoir stand out from the crowd.

Another reason is Gary Crutchley's artwork which keeps the whole thing in touch with reality, or as far it is possible to when the creatures featured are not mutants nor were-gators but actually the off-spring of a mating that we probably don't want to dwell too much on. His moody greytones emphasise the claustrophobic nature of the swamp environment and he is not afraid to move to starker black and white to emphasise aspects of the locale or specific story points.

Anyone considering writing or drawing their own comic title could do a lot worse than buying, reading and analysing just how this book is written and drawn, as well as how the package as a whole is presented to its reader, because they are bound to find something in here that would improve their own work.

I enjoyed the first book in this series but, if anything, WesterNoir Book Two is better and leaves me very eager to read the third book when it is released.

• There are more details of WesterNoir Book Two on the Accent UK website.

• There are more details of Dave West's work on his blog, Strange Times.

• There are more details of Gary Crutchley's work on his blog, Driblin' On.

• Accent UK will be selling their range of books including WesterNoir at the Dundee Comics Expo on Saturday 30 March 2013 at the University of Dundee.

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