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Underrated: Undone By Blood: The shadow Of A Wanted Man

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Undone By Blood: Shadow Of A Wanted Man.

I actually passed on this when the first issue came out because I was running out of capacity to buy and read comics at the time, and I ended up getting something else instead (the truth is I probably have a short box of new comics yet to read, and close to the same in trades as well). I don’t remember what book I picked up instead of this one so I can’t honestly say whether I should have picked up the first issue of Undone By Blood: The Shadow of a Wanted Man or the other comic, but I am glad I was able to grab the trade from my comic shop ($17 USD well spent).

So what is the book about? Well, to borrow from the back of the book…

In the early 1970s, Ethel Grady Lane returns to her hometown of Sweetheart, Arizona with one thing on her mind: killing the man who murdered her family. But first, she’ll have to find him. As Ethel navigates the eccentric town and its inhabitants, she learns that the quaint veneer hides a brewing darkness. She has no choice but to descend into a ring of depravity and violence, with her only ally an Old West novel that follows famed gunslinger Solomon Eaton. As both stories unfold simultaneously, a love of fiction informs choices in reality, for better or worse.

It’s strange to say that I only picked this trade paperback up because I had a chance to talk to one of the writers, Zac Thompson about part of the inspiration behind it, Red Dead Redemption 2, which reminded me that this was a series I’d been interested in when it first came out but had fallen off my radar. I’m glad I had the chance to talk to Zac, because without that chat I’d likely have left it on the shelf awhile longer until something reminded me to check it out.

I’m a big fan of the dual narratives between Ethel and Solomon, even more so how how Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson alternate between prose pages and comic pages. The entire presentation of the trade paperback is brilliant; there’s a weathered aging effect applied to some of the interior pages (most obviously on the prose pages) that immerses you into the two time periods in subtle ways. As a western story, this is one of the best that I’ve read in any form, whether comic or book.

Undone By Blood: The Shadow Of A Wanted Man features some killer artwork by Sami Kivela, Jason Wordie and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou – the entire creative team are utterly brilliant. Now is an ideal time to pick this book up as the second volume is due to hit later this year.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Almost American

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