Issue by Issue – Red Wolf #1

red-wolf-1Writer – Gary Friedrich
Artist – Syd Shores
Inker – Syd Shores
Letters – Sam Rosen

The first issue of Red Wolf’s ongoing series by Gary Friedrich and Syd Shores finds our hero trying to get justice for the son of a Native chief who was killed by the trigger-happy son of a rancher. As is most often the case when it comes to the law in the old west, it never applies to those who kill the Native Indians of the land. The law of the white man only applies to whites and though Red Wolf would like to see this changed and to have a just outcome for his fallen brother, part of him knows that it will never happen. A man can always hope though. Friedrich paints Red Wolf as a man who stands for justice and he will see it done if he is able no matter who commits the crime, standing as it were, on the fence between white man and red. As Johnny Wakely, he works as a scout for the army and tries to foster good relations between those whose skin differs from their own and as Red Wolf; he protects both sides outside of the law, doing what he can when he can with his trusty sidekick Lobo. There is a lot of action and drama in this first issue and it reads just like a classic western film. Having been written in 1972, there is a lot of dialogue and a lot of script in the book and while it may take the average reader a while to get through it, it never manages to hamper the story. Like all good first issues, this one does it right by introducing our hero and his background, his various identities and what he does and his reason for doing so. The villain of the story might be fairly generic, being just your average, racist cattle rancher, but it paints a perfect picture of what it was like during the time period, something shown many times over on film and on television. Red Wolf tries his very best to have the perpetrator be held accountable for his actions, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also due to the fact that if nothing is done, it could mean war and nobody wants that. The artwork by Shores is good, if a little rough around the edges and it really suits this tale of the Old West and the uncertainty of everyday life during the time. Being a hero is hard work and being one stuck in the middle of two completely different types of people seems even harder still.

3.5 out of 5

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