The Death of Haggard West (First Second)


ComicSpectrum’s 100th comic review!

HaggardWest1Rating: 4.5/5 – Prequel to Paul Pope’s Battling Boy

This is an interesting comic.  It’s First Second’s 1st single issue comic, previously they’ve done graphic albums.  That said, it’s a prequel to Paul Pope’s upcoming Graphic Novel series “Battling Boy” where the premise is that we’re coming in on the last issue of the “Invincible Haggard West” comic series that’s been going on for quite some time.  Not really a spoiler, since it’s right there in the title, this issue focuses on Haggard West’s last adventure.

Paul Pope is a master of comic art, his panel layouts, panel-to-panel continuity & use of the comic format to slice time into the panels we see, as well as his dynamic sense of action all combine to make this issue a treat and got me well excited about the Battling Boy OGN coming in October.  In this issue Haggard is facing off against the villain Sadisto who, with his minions, has been kidnapping children for some no doubt nefarious purpose.  Of more interest is the introduction of Haggard’s daughter Aurora, who we will presumably follow into Battling Boy.    The end sequence at Haggard’s funeral is touching, due mostly to the narration by Aurora and the story hook dropped into the last few panels of the story that is a clear portent of what is to come.

The story is brilliantly executed, though I’ll admit up front to being a sucker for anything he does.  This is in some ways a fragment of a larger story and a setup for what comes next, even in that Pope provides content in deeds, dialogue, and action that left me with a good sense for who Haggard West was.  Every pen stroke, caption, and word of dialogue has been meticulously placed to move the story along.  That is more than some creators are able to do in an entire first story arc and it’s what sets creators like Pope apart from and above many others in the field.  If you can get your hands on a copy of this comic, make every effort to check it out.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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