Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The 7 Deadly Sins

Written by Tze Chun
Art by Artyom Trakhanov
Coloured by Giulia Brusco

The 7 Deadly Sins is the third TKO Studios book that I've read and loved (out of three).  I was immediately attracted to this book because I've become a big fan of Russian artist Artyom Trakhanov (Undertow and Turncoat were both brilliant).

This story is set in Texas in 1867, and focuses on life along the border of Comanche territory.  Threadgill, a priest, runs a station filled with orphans of the region, but we learn that he's not exactly an honest man of god.  One of his associates, Antonio, believes that the brutal attacks on American settlers are a response by the Comanche chief, Black Cloud, to Threadgill's actions, and resolves to take steps to correct the situation.

A prison transport comes through town, filled with a small group of people headed for execution, and in them, and the recent capture Jericho Marsh, a black former Union soldier hated in these parts, Antonio sees the opportunity that he needs.  He frees them, and offers to pay them handsomely for helping him to take him and his daughter to the Comanche.  Of course, they have to face outlaws, pursuing Rangers, and then, eventually, the Comanche themselves.

What follows is a brutal and dirty take on the Dirty Dozen/Suicide Squad model, set in a Western directed by Quentin Tarantino.  The character work by Chun, a writer and producer on the Gotham TV show, is excellent.  Most of these characters are given backstory to varying degrees, as some of the nastier ones make choices that can lead to redemption.

I was pleased with Chun's writing, but I was, as expected, very impressed with Trakhanov's art.  He, along with colourist Giulia Brusco, make it possible to really feel the dirt and squalor of this time period.  He is sometimes a confusing artist, storytelling wise, but his characters ooze empathy, and he has a cool approach to laying out a story.

I've really enjoyed these first three TKO Studios offerings (including Sara and Goodnight Paradise) I've read, and am beginning to think I should order the rest (I'm hoping that the second wave comes out soon, as I've already paid for the Lemire/Walta one).