Westward #5 (Kinetic)

Westward #5 cover

Rating:  4/5 – A steampunk mystery that keeps you guessing

Westward, written and illustrated by Ken Krekeler, is a steampunk action/mystery focusing on Victor West and his family’s business, Westward Enterprises.  The book is published by Kinetic Press, which was created by Krekeler to showcase his work.  Westward is one of the more unique comic books on the shelves today touching on significant contemporary issues; technology and it’s advancement into taboo societal areas, the place of a large corporation in society and the fear of that corporations reach by the general public are just some of the concepts one can take from the book.

Issue 5 begins (and ends) with an alternate route to storytelling as the narrative is handled through a letter that is written from Annabelle to her daughter Penelope.  Annebelle is Victor’s sister and the current CEO of Westward Enterprises.  Krekeler does a nice job of blending the art with certain points of the letter as we see Victor on another secret mission.  One of Krekeler’s artistic strengths is his ability to show emotion, which sometimes can be difficult in black and white comics.  The anguish that Victor feels as he is pulled in all directions from those closest to him is almost palpable.

Krekeler seems right at home with steampunk art and the illutrations of the many gadgets that Victor employs are intricately designed and detailed in the pages of Westward.  There is a delicate line to a black and white book as panels have the potential to look muddled with too much black but Krekeler does a good job balancing the shadows of the panels and detailing the ornate instruments such as the recording device found on page 14.

Westward #5 propels several storylines forward while also dropping a bombshell of a reveal on the last page.  Krekeler has built a unique and interesting world that we find the West family and their company in.  Victor West is a protagonist who you feel inclined to dislike due to his personality but through the course of events you can’t help feel sorry for.  I am not sure where this ride is going but I am happy I am on it.   I hope other comic book fans find Westward and experience the exciting story that is unfolding, it’s hard to find on the racks in all but the most indie/small press friendly comic shops.  Issues are sometimes funded by Kickstarter campaigns (#5 was) and you can preorder the book or find more information about it on the site www.achieveordie.com

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard – jeff@comicspectrum.com
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