Review: The Whole Hog In `Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel To Be Kin’ #7

by Tom Smithyman


The latest Shaolin Cowboy series ends in typical Geof Darrow fashion – spectacularly with acerbic wit and intricately stunning visuals that would take hours to fully digest. Throw in a giant pig, talking dogs and some kung-fu action and you have the perfect comic book.


Geof Darrow doesn’t really do subtle.

Whether it’s his unique, over-the-top visual style or his witty, pull-no-punches scripts, Darrow is a comic book auteur.

Consider some of the phrases uttered during a battle royal pitting the Shaolin Cowboy against a two-story high pig vs. a massive eugenically enhanced Big Daddy Snell. When Snell’s arm is sliced off, he screams “It hurts like social reform!” After smacking down the hog, Snell yells: “My kind always does best because we are right and we are white!!” And when the pig wakes, his dog companion warns him that this is the third time he’s been knocked out today. “You’re gonna need an MRI, Tom Brady.”

Darrow may be an acquired taste. But the taste is delicious.

How the Cowboy and his sparring partners got to this point isn’t really all that important. But the story up until now has been top-notch. Snell was responsible for the death of the Cowboy’s Komodo dragon friends (trust me, it works) after the Cowboy killed Snell’s jellyfish-riding relative in a desert duel. (Really, it works!)

If that weren’t enough – and in Darrow’s world, nothing is ever really enough – the visuals are overwhelming wonderful. As has been typical with this series, nearly every panel is chock full of kung-fu action, sophomoric sex jokes (Pence Meats – Try Our Wieners) and left-wing political humor (A billboard for Big NRA Burger has Donald Trump holding a hamburger proudly proclaiming “100% ass-fed bull”).

There’s more. Plenty more. It would literally take hours to dissect every panel on every page to find all the jokes Darrow has hidden away for the discerning eye. It must take him an eternity to create a single issue. Unfortunately, this is the concluding issue for this series – the strongest in the Darrow-created franchise. It won’t likely be the last. And that is a very, very good thing.

Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to be Kin #7 is available for purchase today.

%d bloggers like this: