Dusty Star #1 (vol. 2), June 2006, Image Comics/Desperado Publishing
writers: Andrew Robinson & Joe Pruett
artist: Andrew Robinson
letterer: Marshall Dillon
The stretch between Phoenix and Los Angeles on the I-10 is a surprisingly desolate one, an abandoned desert with bookend suburban thresholds that usher the sprawl of their respective metropolises. (For those of you demographically-minded, Goodyear rests on the Arizona side, Cathedral City on the California side, each slowly but surely growing to their very city limits. During the daytime, this drive on the 10, much like the one I endured today, reveals some peculiar, seemingly forsaken towns – Tonopah, for example – that spark the imagination about the West’s supposedly excited origins, rife with high-noon gun fights and seething, sultry whorehouses. Are these historical impressions even accurate? If so, is Tonopah abandoned, or simply stuck in its own dusty past?
Coincidentally, today’s read, Dusty Star, is a modern western – its only apparent tie to the present a motorized scooter that is blown up in favor of a faithful horse. Story-wise, although this issue is a number one, its lead, a tough and attractive gun-slinging cowgirl, is tying up loose ends, seeking old enemies and claiming old debts. The issue is well written and beautifully drawn, but Dusty’s motivations are too mired in a previous story (volume one, I presume) to be ignored. As a new reader, I was left to ride the roller coaster without knowledge of where we began, not to mention where it will end. Was the new number one all that important? Despite the year between story arcs, Warren Ellis opted to pick up Desolation Jones where it left off, from number six to number seven seamlessly. Still, simply put, I enjoyed this issue, and I would pursue this series again, given the chance. That’s the sign of a good comic.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m hitting the hay. Nine hours on the road in stop and go traffic would drain you, too, I reckon. In this case, a horse would’ve been faster.