Written by: Josh S. Henaman
Line Art by: Andy Taylor
Color by: Tamra Bonvillain
Published by: Brewhouse Comics
Reviewed by: Kristian Horn
There’s a moment where any film buff who loves Sergio Leone movies makes the realization that The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly isn’t actually about Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name character. Despite Eastwood’s intense presence and his setup and the actual somewhat “Good” in the film, anyone who loves the classic spaghetti western has the moment when, whether they are watching it for the first time or the fifth, their eyes open wide, their mouth hangs ajar a little bit, and something in their movie fan brain switches on and they get that The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is actually about Eli Wallach’s sleazy and irredeemable Tuco character. It’s a major testament to Leone’s genius that he’s able to slightly trick the majority of a film going audience into thinking that Eastwood is the star of the narrative. In fact, the central character, the one that we learn the most about, and the one we come to sort of identify with during major points in the film is Tuco.
Why am I opening up a review about Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman with a whole paragraph about the somewhat misleading nature of a classic Sergio Leone film? Well, because the creators of this terrifically original indie comic have managed to pull the same sort of bait and switch with the storyline of their series. While they haven’t been quite as subtle about it as Leone was they have succeeded in making their story revolve around a sympathetic secondary character rather than the actual bearer of the comic’s title. From the beginning the point of view of the story has always been told from that of Bigfoot’s companion rather than the titular character himself but it’s in this issue is where it becomes incredibly obvious that up to this point Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman is more about his partner Castor than the large footed barbarian warrior.
This is why this particular issue of the series tends to be somewhat of a game changer. When I was sent a review copy of this chapter in the Bigfoot Mars saga I was told that it was one that would be a bold new direction for the series. Well, let me tell you that the creators of Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman weren’t kidding. While this series continues in the tradition of John Carter: Warlord of Mars and Planet Hulk, this edition definitely sees a change to the status quo…so much so that I’m actually wondering how the series can proceed from here. If the conclusion of this issue is carried through then a serious focus shift could be occurring with the storytelling of this series. It’s actually something I look forward to seeing as one of the weaknesses of Bigfoot for me was the lack of focus on the big guy himself. When the finale of this particular issue played out it indeed signaled a big change in the way the series will be handled from now on. It should be interesting to see how that plays out.
In this issue of Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman artist Andy Taylor has finally solidified his artistic style. One of my problems with previous editions of this comic is that the line work has been a bit loose and free. Taylor had obvious talent but it seemed as if the art was a bit rushed and that the colorist was left to do the heavy lifting when it came to the visual appeal of the book. With issue five it seems as if Taylor has taken more time to sit with the pages and make his artwork feel more complete. While Bigfoot was always a very good-looking book, this part of the tale is the most professionally rendered one yet. The art is well finished and very polished. Both Taylor and colorist Tamra Bonvillain should be proud of what they’ve done here as it’s the best the series has looked since it began.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I really do think that Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman is one of the best self-published books out there. It’s got an appealing and original premise and a pleasing visual palette. I’ve been rooting for it since I read the first four issues and if this issue shows anything it’s that the creators of the book are willing to take chances. The end of this particular edition really leaves things wide open for how the series is going to proceed and it seems as if this is a comic that could surprise you if you give it the chance it deserves.