The short Graphic novel, “Cowboys & Aliens” is a fun, alternative history tale set in the American West of 1873.
It’s a time of hardship and conflict, especially between the settlers and natives, which has been interrupted by the crash-landing of an alien craft. A scrappy band of white settlers and native tribesman must put aside their differences to fight a common enemy: The Caste.
One of their saucer-shaped ships crashes in the desert, and as this world is unclaimed on their maps, lay claim to it, and all of its people and resources.
Only a handful of them have survived the crash, but their technology and ferocity is such that the humans who first encounter them, a team of braves, and a platoon of cavalrymen are easily dispatched.
They build a beacon to call their fleet with which to conquer the planet, and if the locals don’t stop them, the entire planet is doomed.
The story presented is fun, and it’s always interesting to see another take on advanced alien technology.
The themes of slavery and the trite allegory which places all of humanity in the position of to the Native American during the height of Manifest Destiny, however, are made a little too obvious, as the story deals the blows of each with baseball bat force.
It doesn’t help that the story begins with an unnecessary prologue which shows the audience how the allegory is supposed to work, even before the story begins.
The art, however is fantastic, and while the writing is nothing to marvel at, the dialog does, for the most part, seem easy and natural in the context.
As with most action oriented graphic novels, a few of the panels have to be stared at for a moment to figure out just what’s going on, but the story is easy to follow and fun to get into.
If you can look past its minor literary failings, this is a graphic novel you should pick up, or at least sit with in the bookstore cafe.