Issue by Issue – The Gunhawks #4

Writer – Gary Friedrich
Artist – Syd Shores, Dick Ayers
Inker – Jack Abel
Colours – Petra Goldberg
Letters – Shelly Leferman

While Reno Jones sits in prison with a bunch of the Cheyenne who were captured in the last issue, Kid Cassidy is facing a literal trial by fire courtesy of Grey Fox, the man to whom Rachel now belongs. The hot coals before him intimidate Cassidy as they would any man, but he is determined to pass the tests before him if he is to continue living and he does just that with no small amount of courage. Gary Friedrich who writes this story and Syd Shore who brings it to life are intent on testing the men, both in far different ways. For Reno Jones, he must hold his temper until he finds himself a free man, he must take all the racism thrown his way by the white soldiers on the chin so to speak and if he can do than that, he can find Cassidy and set things straight. The second test that Cassidy faces in the meantime is yet another that deals with fire, this time with spear points – white-hot from sitting in the flames and spearheads which will pierce his skin during which he must keep from yelling if he is to survive. Eventually the last test is revealed and Cassidy must face a grizzly in battle. If he can survive the bear, he will become a brave like those that surround him and if not, he will die a gruesome death. Thankfully, Friedrich and Shores send him a little help in the form of Reno who shows up just in the nick of time, though the book is left on a cliff-hanger as man and bear face off against each other. As for Rachel, she hides from Reno, the shame of what she has become overcoming the love she has for the man. In a second tale entitled The Mystery of Waco Mesa!, it finds a young man being warned to stay away, given the bloody history of the mesa in the distance. Curiosity overcomes the man though and he means to discover just what it is that people are so afraid of and the revelation will definitely surprise. Both tales are incredibly entertaining, one about two men raised as brothers who must overcome racism and diversity in the old west while trying to remain true to themselves and to each other while searching for a woman who was quite possibly dead and the second about a western Shangri-La, a story very different than most seen in such a book as this. These were two great tales by some fantastic creators and they continue to make this book one that thrills and delights.

4 out of 5

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