Review – West of Sundown #1 (Vault Comics)
Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer(s): Tim Seeley & Aaron Campbell
Artist: Jim Terry
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Release Date: 5th April 2022
On sale now from Vault Comics, this new series sprints out of the starting blocks, wasting little time in throwing us headlong into the world of vampire Constance der Abend and her assistant Dooley O’Shaughnessey. We follow the pair from their first meeting in Virginia to glamorous New York to the New Mexico desert as they cut a swathe through society, with the former finding unworthy souls to allow the latter to feed, all with menacing monster slayers hot on their heels.
Aside from the publisher’s impeccable track record, there were two main factors that convinced me to pick this one up and give it a try. Firstly, the prospect of seeing Tim Seeley and Jim Terry, the creative partnership behind Sundowners, one of my all-time favourite comic books, reuniting for a brand new Western horror series was immensely appealing. And secondly, I was intrigued to check out supremely talented artist Aaron Campbell’s writing debut.
As expected, the finished product makes for a thoroughly enjoyable read. The tropes are undoubtedly familiar, but the execution is confident and stylish enough that it doesn’t feel too derivative. There’s a lot of exposition via dialogue which is fine, and while Constance herself perhaps feels a little one-dimensional for the time being, Seeley and Campbell do a great job of building up an investment in Dooley, fleshing out the traumatic childhood that brought him to this point and giving the reader a deeper understanding of his overall mindset.
Terry puts in a typically strong shift with the artwork, combining detail with expression and doing a great job of nailing the main storyline beats. Speaking of which, there are two visual flourishes here which really stand out. The first, which features Constance meting out a little justice to a monstrous New Yorker, is brought to life with a scintillating double-page spread. The second, which sees Constance once again dispensing with some truly ungodly men, sees colourist Triona Farrell really coming into her own with generous lashings of crimson.
The final pages see our twosome settling in the rough-and-ready frontier town of Sangre de Moro, and give us a closer look at the aforementioned monster hunters – who may be every bit as monstrous as Constance herself, if first impressions are to be believed.
An impressive first issue which actually exceeded my expectations coming in, West of Sundown takes the familiar and makes it lively and fresh, sinking its teeth into the reader from the very first page. Another impressive addition to the Vault Comics library, and a series I’m going to be paying close attention to moving forwards.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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