Reckless Hero’s tale of a lone sheriff hiding from his past while evil gun-toting alien bounty hunters chase him down, has evolved from a trad sci-fi western into an epic space cowboy hybrid with some truly stunning visuals in The Last Sheriff #3. There’s also a new despicable bad guy in town hunting down our hero and a greatly expanded world for the characters to inhabit, but have we been too quick on the draw when it came to criticising Chris Jenkins and Chris Imber’s gun slinging hero?
Publisher: Reckless Hero
Writer: Chris Jenkins
Artist: Chris Imber (Pencils) Chris Jenkins (Letters, Colours)
Price: £3 from recklesshero.com
Our rating: [star rating=”4.5″]
The last time we saw the Last Sheriff he was being carried off by green skinned alien looking natives after he and his companion Rose had been blown up by a bunch of evil mercenary bounty hunters. The story picks up the action from this point as we see the Sheriff parlay with the natives, while Rose recovers from her injuries. However, perhaps the most exciting part of this new issue is the introduction of a new villain called Mr Sixx who is like a combination of General Grievous from Star Wars and 2000 AD‘s Judge Death – in other words a creepy looking bounty hunter/evil sheriff!
After a fairly average debut issue, and a slightly confusing second offering, Chris Jenkins and Chris Imber have finally found their voice and with it their confidence in The Last Sherriff #3. Looking back, that debut reads very much like a pilot, with the Chris’ finding their feet before the main story truly gets going. In turn this meant issue #2 felt jumbled as it embarked on a new direction and is only really making sense now that we read it in context with the latest chapter.
The world of The Last Sheriff has really begun to expand and evolve in these two issues, introducing new characters such as the dastardly Mr Sixx (who we cannot say enough good things about!), the mysterious alien natives and a new addition we meet in the final pages. But also by expanding the role of Rose into less of a damsel in distress and explaining more about the Sheriff himself with a series of flashbacks which help establish his background and military past.
While the first issue felt like a slightly average sci-fi western book that reminded us a bit too much of Wildstorm books from the 90s, issue #3 feels like a much more confident and well balanced issue. Sure the visuals still ache of 90s-ness, but artist Chris Imber has a real swagger and polish to his artwork and there are much fewer of the those slightly off compositions that we saw in issue #1 (and also in his other Reckless Hero book, Operation Boom! – clearly he’s used his experience on both of these to help up his game). While before his work looked like someone trying to do that 90s Image style, now his work has a slickness that makes it look every bit as accomplished as those artists we inevitably compare him to – Joe Mad, Chris Bachaco, Humberto Ramos – but in many ways he is quickly becoming as good, if not better, than them and his work increasingly feels less like someone doing a style and more like an artist with their own identity!
This is helped by Chris Jenkins’ stylish colouring and lettering, which helps brings every page to life – especially Sixx’s multi-armed reveal and the scene where Rose gets all mystical as part of her recovery, which are just staggeringly good!! It also gives the whole Reckless Hero package a slickness which helps it stand out on the cluttered UK indie scene and looks every bit as professional as a major release.
When we reviewed Operation Boom! we suggested that it had the potential to be the calling card for Reckless Hero as it seemed to embody so much of what made this pairing successful. However with Last Sheriff, they now have a book which is firing from both barrels and has taken it’s rightful place as the head honcho of the Reckless Hero posse. And in doing so has also become one of most exciting books on the UK small press scene today!