In the American Wild West, invading aliens show up, intent to colonize the planet and enslave or destroy the humans. The warring white settlers and Native Americans must put aside their own battle for control of the land and defend it from offworlders.
This was given as a gift to me, because when the movie Cowboys and Aliens came out in 2011, I was super into the idea of two of my favorite things being combined–a western and scifi. A friend gifted this to me, and it languished on my TBR Pile for years. I finally picked it up, and while I enjoyed the read and the art, I did not enjoy it as much as the movie, finding it to be too heavy-handed and obvious in its message, as well as a bit too stereotypical in how it handled its Native American characters.
The art is bright and colorful with easy-to-follow panels. The book opens with a clearly laid out parallel between the colonizing alien species and the white settlers in America. It’s clever to make a group actively colonizing another group suddenly the victim of colonizers themselves. However, the direct juxtaposition jumping back and forth between the two visually is too heavy-handed. Readers know about colonization on our own planet. Just tell the story of the aliens and let us see the white settler characters slowly realize that they’re doing the same thing to others. Instead, the readers are shown several times both the parallels between the two and one of the white settlers suddenly dramatically realizing the similarities in the situations.
The Native American characters aren’t horribly handed, however they are treated a bit too much magically for my taste. Thankfully, how they help fight the aliens mostly comes from ingenuity, not magic.
Both of those things said, the aliens in the story are diverse and interestingly drawn. Seeing Native Americans and white settlers battle the aliens with a combination of their own gear and stolen alien items was really fun to read. Just not as much fun or as well-developed of a plot as it was in the movie.
Overall, this is a quick graphic novel that would be a fun read for either hardcore fans of the movie or those interested in the basic idea but who prefer graphic novels to movies.
3 out of 5 stars
Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge