Shadow Roads (Volume One) is one very large screwy ride! Cullen Bunn and Brain Hurrt make realism and science fiction collide. They bleed together to create a familiar but new world where Victorina England and the American old west are only a portal jump away from each other. There is magic, native tribes and demons. There are people who are not what they seem and people who are the comic relief. There is an Annie Oakley-like kid who also could pass herself off for Little Orphan Annie (in more than one way) and there are priests who forget their vows and fall in love with a native priestess and become fathers to said girl. There that and a lot more packed into this volume that contains issues 1 to 5.
It is old school graphic novel and science-fiction. The art of A.C. Zamudio and Carlos Zamudio has the classic graphic novel lines, the busy aspects to panels, the colors and image making all scream “I am a graphic novel of the old-school world.” It is dark where dark is needed, but light is used to make a point. The blood flies along with heads, limbs and the gods know what else. They are amazing and yet, ugly. Which means they fit the story perfectly. There are hell hounds, demonic native priests, one old chief of her tribe and a man-bear. There is also the beautiful: Abigail Redmayne who is not only one bada$$ sharp shooter herself but is known as a soprano opera singer (and she can really fill out that corset) not to mention Henry who is classically handsome (fills out a gentleman’s suit and does honor to his native father’s heritage with his chiseled good-looks). There are stereotypes (as much as I loved Barry, yeah, he needed to get rid of his feather headband. Yet, his scene with the chief having tea was priceless) and mysteries galore.
The story is tied up at the end, but the ribbon comes undone as well. There is a closed-but-open ending. This story is simple: two different people are extremely powerful with magic and the demon wants them. And will stop at nothing to get it. There are Texas Ranger-like men, a bounty-hunter man who sees the spirits of the dead (some are more friendly than others) and there is The Crossroads: places that allow those who know how to leap from place to place. It is a simple idea but with a lot of twists and turns and sometimes information is sprung on you and other times left out completely (which means volume two probably needs to be read as well; yet, does not come out until Summer 2020).
I am also interested in reading The Sixth Gun (special edition) which is a prequel/companion series. As descriptions have said Shadow Roads comes after what is left after (deluxe edition) The Sixth Gun.