Ron Zimmerman writer
Howard Chaykin artist
Review by Joe Palmer
Wednesday afternoon on my trip to G-Mart, my local comic shop, I spied a single copy of Rawhide Kid’s newest mini, The Sensational Seven, left on the shelf. Somehow I’d forgotten to order a copy and so I picked up the last copy and paid full price, something I almost never do thanks to the store’s generous ordering discount. I almost wish I hadn’t, or at least had pre-ordered and only paid $2.60 because maybe my sense of value might have increased.
Zimmerman and Axel Alonso return in their roles as writer and editor respectively, with veteran artist Howard Chaykin joining them for the visuals. The art is solid Chaykin, an artist whose work that I’ve seen over decades have largely enjoyed. If I had to find something to be criticize it would be that in some panels the figures seem to be separated from their backgrounds, as if they’re sitting on the surface instead of looking like they’re integrated into their surroundings.
If you enjoyed Zimmerman’s writing style and sense of humor as evidenced in Slap Leather then you’ll almost certainly squeal with delight while reading this first chapter as Rawhide and Annie Oakley catch up on girl talk and doing her hair while sipping a Chardonnay. Oh, and then there’s his advice on the use and importance of a fan as an accessory. Marvel at the imprisoned Earp brothers whom Rawhide means to rescue as they make buffoons of themselves as they’re overtly manipulated by their old geezer cellmate for his entertainment. Bad guy Cristo Pike, son of Crisco who I think was Slap Leather’s villain, makes a Tonto joke. Brawling townfolk are stopped in their tracks when Rawhide throws some attitude at them.
If you didn’t care for Slap Leather or grew tired of the humor (even Giffen and DeMatteis had an off moment or three during the JL tour de force) then you might not find much to your liking here. There is one noticeable change or at least I think so because it’s been years since I looked at SL, and that’s in Rawhide’s demeanor. When he confronts a quartet of ornery cowboys who tormented Annie before the story picks up. In their confrontation Rawhide pops the biggest one in the face, sending his boots flying and proceeds to shoot the guns out of the hands of remaining three, and finally dispensing with them all. I just don’t recall him being physically agressive in any way in the first mini.
Maybe my sense of humor is missing or dead. It’s possible. Am I offended? No, more like disappointed that the criticism from years ago seems not to have made an impression on Zimmerman at all. Or maybe Slap Leather’s sales were so good that any legitimate criticism was deemed unimportant. Maybe the writing over the course of the next 3 issues will make me eat my words. We’ll see in 90 days or less.
This series has Marvel’s most restrictive rating, parental advisory. On its site, Marvel describes it as being suitable for readers 15 and older because it features “more mature themes and/or more graphic imagery”. Marvel’s ratings system may have been revised in the interim, as it seems the first mini was given a more restrictive “mature readers” label. Based on this issue there are three factors for the warning. First, Annie wears a towel and later an outfit that’s skimpy, but hardly anything more provocative than sometimes seen in TV shows. Secondly, Zimmerman’s dialog is rife with sexual innuendo and double entendres. The third reason is the gun blow job.
As it stands right now I don’t know if Zimmerman is delivering his honest best or jerking off at his keyboard and possibly thinking it’s cool for gay readers, or trying to vicariously jerk off gay readers. And maybe it’s just me being a cranky old fart who should lighten up. Feel free to leave a comment saying so or what your thoughts are.
If you have a hankerin’ to read what real man loving cowboys were like, try starting with this book from Amazon.