The Wild West was famed for its lawlessness and represented a chaotic scramble for survival. Dave West and Gary Crutchley’s WesterNoir series is an entertaining supernatural western that follows the exploits of Josiah Black. Black works for the shady Mister Caligary as a monster hunter. But Black’s usefulness to Caligary only goes so far, and that’s the focus of WesterNoir: Book Four. Crutchley sent a copy of the graphic novel over to The Comic Vault in exchange for an honest review.
After massacring a village filled with monsters, Black contemplates his past and wonders if a man like him could ever find redemption. He gets breakfast in a small town and tries to forget about his nightmares. It’s not long before Caligary’s agent, Baylocke arrives to give Black another assignment. The two men openly dislike each other and you can feel the tension rise off the page during their conversation.
Then, Baylocke comes across a woman he’s been hunting called Christa. He holds her at gun point but she fights back. Before she can escape, Baylocke shoots her in the back and leaves her for dead. Black hears the commotion and finds her lying in the street. It’s revealed that Black used to work for Christa. While watching over her, she tells him it was Baylocke who shot her.
Black attempts to tell the local sheriff, only for him to be framed for Christa’s shooting. Baylocke comes to his cell to inform Black that he’ll be finding a replacement for him. The graphic novel ends with Baylocke suffocating Christa and Black thinking back to what she told him in the street about Caligary lying to him.
Baylocke’s betrayal improved the pace of the overall story. The previous couple of WesterNoir books focused on world building and standalone tales. Book four has given the plot a sense of direction. Baylocke serves as a reminder that humans are capable of being monsters every day.
The art is eye catching and relies on a minimalistic approach. A lack of colour fits with the western setting.
If you haven’t been reading WesterNoir, then book four is a great jumping on point. You can purchase it from Accent UK Comics.