Advance Review: It’s a Battle Royale in `Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin’ #2

by Tom Smithyman


Only Geof Darrow could create a comic so insanely compelling. The visuals are consistently amazing and they just keep going – getting better with each page and panel.


Leave it to a creative genius like Geof Darrow to combine a talking baby Komodo dragon, a martial arts-trained cowboy who constantly praises Buddha and a villain who looks like Adolf Hitler and rides airborne jellyfish to create a fantastic story.

Darrow never disappoints, and he keeps his track record intact with the latest installment in his multi-chapter Shaolin Cowboy series. Picking up where he left off in the last issue, Darrow’s cowboy has just rescued a baby Komodo dragon from its hungry father. The baby acts as our narrator in this flash-back story, providing some needed context around Darrow’s incredible artwork.

Set entirely in a desert, this issue continues the fight between creatures created by villain Jojo Samson’s chi. They include gun-toting skeletons, kamikaze birds and the largest cooked chicken imaginable. The desert battle setting is a familiar one for the cowboy and gives Darrow the opportunity to focus on the fight, which dominates this issue. He stops the narration for several pages, which allows the reader to focus on his mesmerizing choreography. It’s truly a sight to behold.

While Darrow cuts back a bit on the narration this time around, he’s still able to interject his particular sense of humor. Despite fighting in a barren desert, Darrow drops in a fresh fish and fruit stand next to a tent that offers ammunition (with the appropriate NRA and Trump accoutrements as an additional visual gag).

He is also self-aware enough to pokes fun at his own writing. After the baby Komodo is thrown from a high perch, he yells “Geronimo!” prompting his son to question him. “You said `Geronimo?’ Hour old and you were born with knowledge of Native American leaders and their appropriation into American vernacular?” Only Darrow.

Hopefully Darrow will be able vary the story and build off his momentum for the next five issues. If so, then Buddha be praised.

Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin #2 will be available for purchase on June 22, 2022.


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