Review: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly #5

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It all comes to a head on the tracks as the Man With No Name, the French Army, and the Mexican bandits all converge on the gold train, with bloody results. The issue we have been building up to is here, and not everyone will make it out alive.

GBU05COVER.jpgTitle: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly #5
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Art by: Esteve Polls
Cover (75%): Dennis Calero
Cover (25%): Sergio Cariello

After the events of the last issue, the Man With No Name (Blondie, for the sake of my finders), Devereux and Mirror Eyes lay in wait for the gold train. After a “decoy” train passes, the real deal shows up. Blondie chose this particular ridge to watch for the train from for a good reason. The train has to slow for a curve and an incline, so it is the perfect spot to jump on. Unfortunately, not all the crew makes it, as Mirror Eyes is left behind, cursing Blondie and Devereux. Taking off on his horse, he plans to meet the train further down the track. Bullets fly as Blondie unhitches the cars holding the majority of the soldiers, and Mirror Eyes ends up trapped between the soldiers and a virtual army of bandits. Deals are made and blood flows as the climax comes barreling toward you.

Chuck Dixon keeps the pace up with this final installment of Dead Man’s Hand. All the little plot lines are closed up, and you see the ultimate fate of most all the characters but maybe one, which is left vague for obvious reasons. We got to see the sadistic French Colonel meet his deserved fate at the hands of the people that he was so contemptible towards, and we see more than a few bandits die. One of the best scenes of the book is reserved for the end, as we get a variation of the old Mexican Standoff between Devereux, Blondie and El Jugadore.  Again, the dialogue is sparse, but the action is high.

Esteve Polls also delivers excellent work here. He keeps up the look of the previous issues and has some great panel layouts. I enjoyed looking at his art, and thought it really fit with the story. It is bare and dusty, and looks like the West should. The clothing fits, the hardware is era correct, and you feel as if you are in the period.

But that is not to say that there are not concerns with this issue. Polls art, as great as it is, has a flaw, telling faces apart. I had to double check a few times during my reading to make sure I understood which character was which. Along the same lines, I also had some concerns about Dixon’s script. Some of the events needed a little more explaining: why exactly was Mirror Eyes unable to make the jump to the train? How exactly did El Jugadore catch up with the train, hide his horse, and get inside the gold car without being seen?

This issue had me torn. I enjoyed it, but I had to avert my eyes to some things that bothered me.  I have no problem whatsoever seeing this story on the big screen as a full movie, and maybe that is the problem. The pacing is so much like a movie that it loses some of the translation to the sequential format. Missing beats that would have been done with camera movements don’t seem to translate as well to paper. The timing feels off. I don’t think there is no one person to blame, and I am not sure that it would even affect most peoples reading enjoyment.

Overall, a good issue with a few flaws that stops it from being great. I’m giving this issue 3 out of 5 stars. Now that this arc is over with, I look forward to seeing what else Dixon and the rest of his posse have in-store for the Man With No Name.

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