Bouncer is back and at it again with Bouncer, The One Armed Gunslinger, where his tale grows more epic as Jodorowsky and Boucq’s gritty western sprawls out with more women, revenge, and gun fights, to the readers’ pleasure. If you enjoyed the first book, this one lives up to it and gives us more twists, turns, and violence at more than double the length of the previous adventure. If you’re new, no problem, Jodorowsky has provided a perfect jumping on point and fills in the little back story to make this a flawless stand alone piece.
As I said, Bouncer, The One Armed Gunslinger is pretty damn epic, filled with a huge cast of characters living and being killed, and plenty of surprise moments. The plot follows Bouncer, the one armed bouncer of the Inferno Saloon in the wild west town of Barro City, who by chance is also elected the new town hangman, a job he absolutely doesn’t want, but has to fulfill with much regret. He finally gets a little light when he is told by the saloon’s owner he will inherit ownership, making Bouncer a well-to-do fellow who now has the ability to marry his crush, the saloon girl Naomi. Things don’t go as planned, though. For starters, the wealthy land owner Clark Cooper has sworn revenge against him after being embarrassed from being thrown out of the saloon after a fight broke out in the shadow of the saloon’s original owner Dante refusing to sell it to him. Also at the same time, a figure in the night has been going around killing town officials by using the bite of deadly green coral snakes, much to the Sheriff’s chagrin. But maybe, just maybe Bouncer could get a break and marry Naomi in all of this. Nope. As they go off to tie the knot, Naomi’s true love from the past, a recently freed slave named Tom, comes back and whisks her away. But it can’t get worse as Bouncer turns to the bottle, opium, and completely doesn’t get that a cute Chinese girl in town who runs the opium den has the hots for him, right? Wrong again, tricky Jodorowsky the writer he is! Naomi and Tom have been framed for murder, and drunk out of his mind and physically forced by town officials, it’s Bouncer’s hand who unwilling pulls the lever which hangs the both of them. What comes out from this point, because I don’t want to give any more spoilers away, is a most epic revenge tale in which Bouncer is filled with blood lust, with the goal to get those who framed the two.
Counting in at around 175 beautifully drawn pages, every so many pages we get a jack knife turn, making it one addicting read. Jodorowsky has made a great follow up to the first book here. As mentioned, it can be enjoyed with or without reading the previous Bouncer story, Jodorowsky showing he’s a great storyteller. Also, when compared to the previous, I don’t think Bouncer, The One Armed Gunslinger is as harsh with its violence, although on an equally gritty landscape. I’m not sure if this is because of how large this book is in comparison to the last, making the harsh stuff spread out instead of being compact. Jodorowsky is also a master at giving us interesting characters; aside from Bouncer, the trio of assassins from Mexico who appear in the later half of the book with their little monkey are gold. Also, the female hangman Anthony, who appears in the second half (who I didn’t want to get into in the previous story description because her explanation gives away a ton more spoilers), is a wonderfully tough as nails woman of the west. Awesome stuff, and the huge gun fight scenes that fill the pages are just great stuff. Boucq’s art is once again an equally as hip pairing with the writing of Jodorowsky. His landscapes, the gritty saloon, and the detail he handles bringing the gun fights to life on the page are all visually fantastic.
So did I have any issues with this book, since at this point you may feel like I’m starting to run at the mouth with praise? The flashback sequence where Bouncer explains his mother having an Indian slave for a little bit seems a little jumbled. I don’t have any issue that this fact wasn’t tied into the first Bouncer book; that’s forgivable since this is a new story line, and a great one at that. The story itself seems to jumble time lines a little regarding how long Bouncer knew the Indian, and if the Indian actually traveled with them, or just before he was born and then grabbed him to raise him for a bit. It may be purely a lost in translation moment for the comic when they set it in English, but it provides a confusing moment for the reader that makes one flip the pages back and forth a few times to try and make heads or tails. Aside from that most minor of complaints, it’s a solid product here.
Bouncer, The One Armed Gunslinger is highly recommended by me. For $29.95 you get a nice hardcover with glossy pages of beautiful artwork and a kick-ass story, so really, what more could you want for your buck? Check it out!
Review copy provided by the publisher.