Above Snakes Vol. 1
Sean Lewis, writer; Hayden Sherman, artist; Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, lettering
Image Comics, 2023
Above Snakes is a supernatural Western, a rare genre indeed. The most recent example is writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt's The Sixth Gun; before that, there was the Vertigo version of Johan Hex. The protagonist is named Dirt, and his mission is to avenge his wife's death at the hands of the Above Snakes Gang. His partner is an imaginary vulture named Speck, who mainly wants blood–which Dirt's activities supply, intended or not. He gets his main object of revenge in the first issue, but continues on to help the world. That turns out to be pretty messy: the vulture falls in love, he rescues a couple of people who get killed because of it, and he finally learns the identity of the true author of his wife's death. After getting his final revenge, he declines the offer to go on as the spirit of Western justice. This collection really does look like The End (as the final panel says). Sherman provides pretty simple visuals, but his characterization is solid, and his colors can be downright psychedelic.