Hayden Fryer has been writing and drawing an interesting western, with ruin and the waste of human greed at the forefront, but solidly within this tale are guns. Mr. Fryer does a good job of balancing the glorification of these weapons with the real impact of their use, but considering the recent events, and the slightly less recent events, and the somewhat less recent events . . .
Guns have a singular purpose. They destroy something. Whether it be a paper target, a can, or a human being capable of love, understanding, and joy, when a firearm discharges correctly, that which it aims at is destroyed. Broken. Damaged in ways that will always leave what remains (if anything) less than it was before. This is something that this issue of Mr. Fryer's work focuses on quite well, giving the reason for the power of the Cobber's pistols and reminding us of the pain that they can cause, as well as the cycle they encourage. There's no love for the Stewarts, and while Cobber and Ellie convalesce, we are suitably reminded of how bad these bad guys are. Surely, there is no consideration for the lives that they lead, and there's certainly no reason for anyone to see them as anything but animals needing to be put down. This is the lullaby that rocks us into the sweet embrace of justified violence, so that when we see things unleashed in the final issue, we won't have to worry about those being blown away in dramatic fashion being worthy of empathy.
Each issue brings the art style into more focus, nuance emerging from the rough style and imbuing more subtext into the work. There are no massive splashes inside, but a solid storytelling through line, as well as some interesting and experimental techniques that are refreshing to see. So many books follow the "one way" to imagine a single frame, but Fryer tosses some quirks into the formula that are tantalizingly different. Some are more effective than others, but the attempt at new styling is exciting.
Obviously, I have personal feelings about the events that transpired in Las Vegas. I'm sure the majority of you reading do, too. In fact, I would say that everyone has an opinion on it. I've tried to stay objective to the work that Mr. Fryer has done, but I know my personal slant has found its way in. It's hard to separate art from life, as they feed each other continuously, and there's no way to allow something of this magnitude to not impact the things you read, the things you say, and the hugs you give to loved ones every time we're reminded of how delicate their lives are. Remember when Harvey, Irma, and Maria were the worst things to befall us? We haven't begun to really clean up the debris from those events of nature when one man decides that not enough people have died, that he has to take more. That certain lives are not worthy of being expressed fully, at the ripples those lives would have had on others that have ceased, at the hardening of hearts behind now-rote arguments where being "right" seems to be more important than being part of a conversation that can lead us to a better place.
I hope you'll enjoy Cobber, and I look forward to being surprised in the finale as I feel that I have been throughout the series. I hope you can hug everyone you love soon. I hope that you all have the opportunity to live the best life for you, and that you all hold each person you meet as deep in your heart as your mother, brother, nephew, daughter...we are all hurtling through the void together, on a ball of rock and gas that can snuff us out without regard or thought at any time. Let's be cool to everyone today. Maybe tomorrow, too. Let's learn to hold and heal and cry and laugh and love and all the wondrous things that we are able to do just by being. It's the most human thing I can think of.
Take care of yourselves and each other.
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