Time Travel Cowboys


This is another in the new line of comics written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. It’s longer than a regular single-issue comic, not quite the size of a graphic novel, and priced at $6.

The story focuses on Jacob Mills, a modern-day hitman with an impressive record of success targeting organized crime. But he hasn’t been as careful about covering his tracks as he’s always thought, leading to the deaths of his secretary and the nun who raised him when he was an orphan. He thinks he can’t testify — if the Mafia could track him when he worked so hard to stay under the radar, there’s no witness protection program that can keep him safe. But the government has what looks like the perfect way to protect him — a working time machine. Unfortunately, it can only send someone 142 years into the past — it’s a one-way trip, with no nonliving material from the future allowed, to keep time refugees from changing the past too much.

So Jacob testifies and takes his trip back to Texas 1869. He meets other refugees from the future, who help him get acclimated, and he actually becomes the local town’s sheriff and meets a girl who he falls in love with. But of course, good things can’t last forever. A jailbreak in 2012 lets one of the mobsters out, and he learns about the time machine. Now there’s a squad of modern-day mercenaries hunting Jacob in Civil-War era Texas — and a cleanup squad from the government hunting all of them to make sure the secret of time travel doesn’t get out. How can Jacob survive those odds?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story and dialogue are excellent, which I’ve come to expect from Gray and Palmiotti. The artwork by Jim Daly and Paul Mounts is also great. So far, I’m really enjoying the stories Gray and Palmiotti are working on through their Paperfilms line of comics, and I hope they have some serious success with this — I haven’t loved every single comic they’ve worked on, but they’ve definitely been on more often than they’ve been off, and I think that’s worth supporting. Go out and pick this one up for a nice little fusion of science fiction, Westerns, and crime fiction.

Secret Six #35

It’s the next to the last issue of this great series. Bane has realized that breaking Batman’s back all those years ago didn’t actually break the Bat’s spirit — and he still wants that more than anything. Jeannette senses death closing in on the team. Knockout, back from Hell, is still suffering significant emotional trauma from the experience. And King Shark? King Shark is a shaaaark. So what’s Bane’s plan for taking on Batman? He wants to target and destroy the Bat-family and anyone else the Dark Knight may care for. But to have a shot at taking on Gotham’s heroes, they’re going to have to get inside information from someone with their finger on the pulse of Gotham City’s underworld…

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, glorious writing from Gail Simone and incredibly fun artwork from Jim Calafiore. Bane’s obsessions, Jeannette’s fears, Knockout’s madness, and King Shark’s undying exuberance about being a shaaaaark are all wonderfully depicted. I’m going to miss this series so very, very much when it ends.

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