Serving as the comic book equivalent of Jell-O, there’s always room for westerns. Combine the word “western” with the name “Tim Truman” and my wallet sheds bills, my friends. It just happens that way.
Riding along El Camino de Muerte (the Road of Death) is where we meet Hawken, who is simply introduced as an old man. Turns out he’s an old man with a penchant for serving up bellies full of lead. In a story that runs a very full, tightly detailed (sometimes too much so) twenty-two pages, Hawken takes out seven other people. No remorse, no regrets, no revealed agenda. Benjamin Truman and his father, Timothy, leave a mystery lingering in these pages to draw us all back for more.
As if the mysterious agenda weren’t enough, this gunslinger riding a blind mule has some ghosts lingering around. The Trumans give us a nice hook on those ghosts, and through those ghosts a peek into the motivation behind Hawken.
If you’ve read a Tim Truman-drawn book, you know his knack for detail and his realistically ridiculous style. His characters are drawn so real you can imagine them out in the real world, but they are also expressive enough that they can’t help but exist only in comics. Truman’s style is unlike any others out there, as unique as Joe Kubert’s and every bit as iconic. This issue gives Truman a chance to shine and to celebrate his own art as there is nothing — no inker, no colorist, no artistic assist of any kind — to hide Truman’s labor. On some pages, you can see the layers of work Truman has put down, and those pages are mind-numbing in their splendor.
Like that Jell-O, there’s nothing of serious substance here, but it sure was a nice variation from the same old, same old while it was going down. It’s not something you’ll really regret too much later, but you also might not really remember it either. When I see the next issue sitting on the new comics rack, I’m sure I’ll get it, and in doing so have some memories of this issue. Until then, I can sit back and make a recommendation to you to try “Hawken.” You just might enjoy it as much as I did.