The Revolution has always loved Clint Eastwood’s westerns and in particular the “spaghetti westerns” by Sergio Leone. The Sergio Leone movies include A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Clint Eastwood plays the role of the The Man With No Name who is by far my favorite character from any movie, book or comic book. The Man with No Name is the baddest man you will ever come across.
I am intrigued that Dynamite Entertainment has decided to make a comic book using a character that is rather old and has been out of circulation for such a long time. However, it is cool to see the Man with No Name finally appearing in a comic book after being the inspiration for so many modern day comic book characters. Evidently, The Man With No Name #1 begins right where the movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly ended. I hope that Gage can deliver a quality read with The Man With No Name #1. Let’s go ahead and do this review.
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Wellington Dias
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the Man with No Name (let’s just call him “the Man” from now on) walking into a wild west town. We see a Union sniper on a rooftop with his rifle out ready to shoot the Man. The Man walks into a barbershop for a hot shave. We see the Man’s cowboy boots in the window as he sits at the chair. The Union sniper takes aim at the window. Suddenly, the Man appears behind the Union sniper. The Man is barefoot.
The Man quickly knocks out the sniper and then ties him up and gags him. The Man then hops off the roof top and circles around four Union soldiers waiting for him outside on the main street. The Man quickly pulls out his six-shooter and kills all four Union soldiers.
The Man then hops back up to the roof of the building and wakes up the captured Union sniper. The Union soldier begs for his life saying that he is about to be married. The Man responds that would make it a mercy killing. The Man tells the soldier that he isn’t going to kill him. The Union soldier replies that the Man is a gentleman. The Man quips that if the soldier gets on his nerves then the Man will reconsider killing him.
The Man then asks why the Union is after him. The soldier responds that the Man is wanted for treason for blew up a Union bridge used to resupply the Union army. (That happened in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.) The soldier hands the Man a “Wanted” poster with the Man’s face on it.
The Man then knocks the Union soldier out once again. The Man goes back to the barbershop and gets his boots and then heads to the general store. The Man buys a bunch of food and supplies. The merchant asks what all of this is for. The Man just glares at the merchant. The merchant stammers that it is none of his business.
The Man walks out of the general store and loads up the saddle on his horse. The Man opens up one of the saddle flaps and looks at the massive amount of gold coins that he has in it. The Man then rides out of town into the desert.
We cut to a group of Confederate soldiers. They are on the hunt for the Man because he stole their gold coins. The Confederates see a Wanted sign from the Union army for treason. The Confederates realize that the Union has no idea that the Man has the Confederate’s money. The commanding officer tells his men that they will ride out into the desert. That the Man is probably in the desert trying to avoid people.
We see the Man in the desert drinking out of a canteen. Suddenly, the canteen is shot out of his hand. We see a bunch of Confederate and Union soldiers arriving on the scene shooting at the Man. The Man puts the reigns to his horse in his mouth, pulls out both six-shooters and rides toward the soldiers with the sun to his back so it blinds the soldiers. The Man kills all of the soldiers.
The Man is then curious as to why Confederate and Union soldiers would be riding together. We see a wounded man who was with the soldiers. The Man says that these soldiers weren’t even after him. The Man asks the wounded man what he did to piss off these soldiers.
The wounded man collapses to the ground and whispers for the Man to help the Mission. The Man pulls off the wounded man’s hat and opens up his jacket. The wounded man is a priest. The priest tells the Man that the Mission of San Antonio needs help. That it is surrounded by bandits like the soldiers who just attacked the Man. That there are only wounded men and priests at the Mission.
The priest then recognizes the Man. The priest says that they tended to the Man not long ago. (Also in the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.) The Man says that they did. The Man then looks at the priest’s wound. The Man says that he isn’t going to lie. That the wound is fatal. The priest then passes away.
We see the Man digging a grave and burying the priest. The Man makes a cross out of two pieces of wood for a grave marker. The Man says that he gave the priest a good Christian burial. That the rest of it he can’t help the priest with. That the men at the Mission are probably dead already. And that there is nothing that the Man can do about it alone.
The Man says that he has his own problems with the Union after him for blowing up the bridge and the Confederates after him for the one hundred thousand dollars worth of gold coins that he stole from them. (Also from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.) The Man then adds that he has also never been a religious man. Therefore there is no damn reason the Man should stick his neck out and do anything.
The Man gets on his horse and says for the priest to rest well. That the priest did everything that he could. The Man then rides off in the opposite direction of the Mission of San Antonio. We see the priest’s grave in the empty desert. We then see the Man come riding back past the grave and headed toward the Mission. The Man says “Goddammit.” End of issue.
The Good: The Man With No Name #1 was a good read. Gage delivers a solid debut issue for this new title. Gage crafts a well paced issue. The story moves along at a quick pace, but it never feels rushed at any point. The Man With No Name #1 was a well plotted issue. Gage presents a nicely constructed story as it moves with a clear point and purpose.
Gage mixes in all the necessary elements that a debut issue of a new title should possess. Gage lets the reader know where they are headed with this initial story arc as well as what style of story that we have to look forward to. Gage does a good job building off of the events from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Gage quickly lays a solid foundation for this initial story arc while also giving the reader the mission statement for this title.
Gage smartly gives the reader just enough back-story in order to make sure that The Man With No Name #1 is new reader friendly. The reader definitely does not have to have seen the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in order to completely enjoy this issue. Of course, if you have seen the Good, the Bad and the Ugly then you will enjoy the little references to the movie.
I dig Gage’s dialogue. The Man talks exactly how he should. His external voice is short, terse and blunt. The Man flashes his trademark incredibly dry sense of humor. The man has an inscrutable persona and displays very little emotion. Gage understands that the Man can communicate more with a glower than with words.
Gage obviously has seen all the Man with No Name movies as he has an excellent feel for the Man’s character. I dig that Gage quickly conveys to the reader that the Man is not a nice guy. That he is quick to kill and adheres to his own strange code of morals. The Man’s world is full of shades of grey rather than a normal person’s black and white world where there is area clear wrongs and rights. Still, even though the Man has no qualms with killing or stealing, he hides a heart that seems to compel him to help the innocent and helpless.
Gage certainly understands that when you are delivering a tale about the Man with No Name that you have to serve up plenty of action scenes. And Gage does just that right out of the gate. We kick off this debut issue with an action scene and the story doesn’t stop rocking until the end.
Gage ends The Man With No Name #1 with a solid hook ending. The Man is placed in an extremely tough situation with the Union on one side after him for charges of treason and the Confederates on the other side after him for stealing their money. Add on top of that the Mission that is being terrorized by outlaws and you have the ingredients for one action packed and interesting story.
Wellington Dias dishes out some solid artwork. The art is a bit inconsistent from panel to panel. Some panels look decidedly ordinary while others, like the scene where the Man is using the sun to blind the soldiers while gunning them down, looked flat out spectacular.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: The Man With No Name #1 was a nice debut issue. The Man is a natural fit for the world of comic books since he has served as the archetype for the modern comic book anti-hero for several decades. The Byronic hero set the precedent for the early anti-hero characters like The Man with No Name. And the Man with No Name has clearly influenced many modern anti-hero comic book characters.
As you read this issue it becomes obvious how characters like Wolverine would not exist without the Man. And while reading Cable #3 that came out last week, it was obvious that the writer on Cable is channeling the Man with No Name when writing Cable’s character. Therefore, if you enjoy anti-heroes then you will definitely enjoy the Man. The Man With No Name #1 is worth giving a try.