Advance Review: `Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin’ #6 Starts with a Bang

by Tom Smithyman


Geof Darrow’s fantastic next entry of the Shaolin Cowboy saga nears its end in this issue as multiple enemies converge on the hero. But the story has always taken a back seat to Darrow’s visuals, which never disappoint.


If the goal of an opening splash page is to set the tone for the rest of an issues, then there is no one better to write and draw one than Geof Darrow. All the evidence you need can be found on the first page of this issue.

First the page is a treat to the eyes – a visual explosion that could easily occupy a reader’s attention for an hour. Darrow has crammed virtually everything possible into this dirty cityscape – from a couple of beer-chugging nuns crossing the street to billboards for Jesus Beer and Foxxx Noise to a pterodactyl perched on a streetlamp. Barely noticeable at the top is the Cowboy jumping to the top of a sign, readying himself for battle.

Dominating the page is a two-story high pig and its dog companion – leftovers from the previous series Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign. The pair complain about the outrageous cost of healthcare (As the dog says: “We’re flat broke and in ham hock up to your neck.”) as another dialogue box sets up the next page.

If that description confuses or concerns you – or if you’re a Donald Trump-loving gun toter – don’t pick up the issue. Or any of Darrow’s work for that matter. But it you aren’t afraid of reading something that is likely to offend your sensibilities just a little, you’ll enjoy this visual masterpiece culled from Darrow’s twisted mind.

The rest of this penultimate issue involves some background and lots of fighting between the Cowboy and the eugenically enhanced Big Daddy Snell, who we learn is related to Bebe, a foe the hero vanquished earlier in the series. Is it heavy on plot? Not so much. Will you care as you’re reading it? Not so much.

Next issue’s extra-sized finale looks to be a barn burner, as the Cowboy is set to square off against foes from his last two series. It should be required reading.

Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin #6 will be available for purchase on October 19, 2022.



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