As enigmatic bounty hunter the White Bolt delivers her captor to the sheriff of a town called Trouble, things are set to take a turn for the for dynamic in Chris Sheridan’s bumper sized edition of Motorcycle Samurai #3: Peripeteia. Will they ever be the same again after this one?!
Publisher: Top Shelf Digital
Writer/Artist: Chris Sheridan
Price: £1.99/$2.99 from ComiXology
Chris Sheridan’s delightfully different digital comic Motorcycle Samurai is now 3 issues old (4 if you include a Christmas one shot) and in many ways it’s make or break for the reader’s interest as well as for our enigmatic heroine the White Bolt. With its mix of 70s exploitation movie characters and John Ford western setting it is a truly unique book that brilliantly mixes it genres, but it is one which has managed to get by thus far on the charm of a good idea mixed with Sheridan’s quirky stylish artwork. However 3 issues in and if Motorcycle Samurai is going to be anything more than a just a quaint gimmick with a load of stylish retro-infused caricatures then it needs to have a meaningful plot behind it in order to give the series some depth. And fortunately for all those who love this quirky oddity, Sheridan delivers this to stunning effect, taking what could have been a one-note series and turning into something truly compelling!
Motorcycle Samurai has always worn it’s influences on it’s sleeve, and issue #3 more than ever reads like a spaghetti western. Just as the action picks ups in those movies when the lone gunslinger rides into town, and interacts with the local scumbags, so Motorcycle Samurai finally sees the plot move forward now that the White Bolt has gotten off her stead and it becomes more than just a collection of back stories and odd character pieces.
This double sized issue takes things to a whole new level for the White Bolt. Having delivered her captor, Happy, to the sheriff in issue #2 we are introduced to a raft of new characters like bad guy Boss Parker and The Stooges – Chuck, Chuck and Buck – and in bringing these misfits into the story it gives a gritty underbelly to the town called Trouble and a purpose for the White Blot. With characters like Sheriff Roy, who seemed like a throwaway character in issue #2 (he dresses like Evil Kneival and looks like Elvis) now given extra meaning in their roles as the story is fleshed out Sheridan has given himself some very solid foundations on which to build his story, allowing him to unleash the kind of ending which changes everything.
We don’t want to give too much away as there are some huge events in this issue that completely change the shift of the book, but suffice to say they are brilliantly executed and change the overall direction of the book to such an extent that we cannot wait for the the next installment to find out what happens. It works both as a starting point for new readers and a reward for long time fans and isn’t that the way good comics should be?
As well as this dynamite new direction for the story, Sheridan has also upped his game with the artwork side of things too. His layout has a new sophistication and confidence to it that sees him really make the most of the Guided View platform. Whether it is using out of sequence page layouts, layering up panels on top of each other, or his use of several wide panoramic pages, the epic feel perfectly compliments the widescreen western feel while his unconventional structuring makes the book feel like so much more than just another trad page turner with a few clever transitions.
As you read through issue #3 you’ll soon realise Motorcycle Samurai has become one of the most slickly put together digital comics around, raising the benchmark for the likes Marvel Infinite. DC2 and the Thrillbent titles to follow. Sheridan’s scratchy artwork and peculiar characters have always had their charm, but when used with a meaningful plot and in the context of a cutting edge digital comic it creates an overall package that is second to none.
Sorry everybody else, Motorcycle Samurai may just be our new favourite digital comic of them all after this!
“Chris Sheridan’s quirky tale of an enigmatic motorcycle bounty hunter in the wild west goes from being an interesting gimmick to a series of substance in this bumper issue and becomes the new benchmark for indie digital comics. Mixing stunning visuals, with smart layouts with a truly jaw dropping ending, Motorcycle Samurai 3 takes you hostage and drags you on an epic journey you’ll not quickly forget.”