REVIEW: To Hell You Ride #1

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The white man has taken the tribes’ land and defiled their holy places. They fought back not through arms, but the scourge of a curse. Now, more than a century later Seven George, a Native American man in Colorado, may find himself involved in events set in motion more than a century before his birth. Read on in this Major Spoilers review.

TO HELL YOU RIDE #1
WRITER: Lance Henriksen and Joseph Maddrey
ARTIST: Tom Mandrake
COLORS: Cris Peter with Mat Lopes
LETTERS: Nate Piekos
EDITOR: Scott Allie
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
COVER PRICE: $3.99

RICH AND MYTHOHISTORICAL

Many years ago four Native American warriors sought to avenge the desecration wrought upon their sacred places by the limitless avarice of the white man. In death, these braves became guardian spirits called Watchers that can rend flesh from bone in violent and disturbing ways.

The story begins with an eight-page introduction to the mythological foundations on which the book is based, i.e. the Watchers and their curse. I don’t know if this lore is at all accurate, but the story is told so well that I believe it could be and that’s really all that matters; the mythology and mysticism feels organic to the story and gives it a soul that would have been lacking without all the background. In these first few pages there’s no dialogue, just narration, and because of Lance Henriksen’s involvement in the writing my mind would accept nothing less than read it as Frank Black from “Millennium.” I imagine I’m not the only reader who’ll do this and, for me at least, it actually improves an already solid script.

The tale then shifts to protagonist Seven George, a wastrel of a man who spends his time drinking and cutting down trees to sell as firewood. He gets touched by the Watchers and, I think, finds himself with a compulsion to fight the injustices levied against his people. Regardless of what’s happening to him, he’s largely in the dark about its particulars and he’s scared of what’s happening to him.

I’m not at all sure where this story is going and that actually leaves me optimistic. This issue reveals just enough to maintain interest, but dissembles enough to keep my curiosity at a low boil.

DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS

I won’t call it gorgeous, but this book looks great. All the images, especially the scenery and the Native American faces, all look roughly hewn like they were carved from an ancient piece of wood. To me, at least, this lifted up the words and gave the story a sense of history and majesty that over polishing would have robbed. I don’t want to give the impression that it feels unfinished—just weathered.

There are a couple of gory scenes that, while fitting perfectly into the context of the overall story, jarred me a little because they came swiftly and departed just as quickly. One, in particular, rivals the face-melting scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”; it’s nothing terrible, but it’s enough to make you stop and say “Wait! What?!”, especially if you’re a friend of fowl.

BOTTOM LINE: YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU BOUGHT THIS

I’m not ashamed to admit I picked up “To Hell You Ride” only because of Lance Henriksen’s involvement with the story. “Millennium” was one of my favorite shows in the ’90s and, with this being a horror title, I had hoped the story would capture some of the show’s psychologically based horror. It didn’t happen but I wasn’t disappointed because this is something different and it shouldn’t suffer from an apples-to-oranges comparison. This is the kind of story that will be a fantastic read in trade, but don’t wait for it—this issue is the kickoff of what I predict will be some good stuff. 4 stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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