Pullbox Reviews Greenhorns #1 – “Stranger Things meets Yellowstone”

After suffering unspeakable tragedy at their stately home on the east coast, the three Aperature siblings (proper Isadora, sunny Florence, and somewhat brave Charles Edward) are forced to relocate to the western frontier town of Greenhorn, California to live with their peculiar cowboy uncle. But not all is as it seems in this quiet, dusty neighborhood, as the newest residents soon find out. Children have been going missing in the darkness, while rumors speak of a demonic creature living within it. Uncle Alva may know more than he’s letting on; what secrets does he hide behind an off-limits door?

Welcome to Greenhorn, California, where the sun is hot, the locals are quirky, & children should not be out alone after dark.

Sounds kinda like some locales I can think of right now.

The Aperture Siblings- Isadora, Florence, & Charles Edward- have had their world turned upside down with the loss of their mother, and the more recent death of their father. Now the wards of their uncle Alva, the children will have to adjust to their new lives out on the western frontier. As their slightly odd and off-putting uncle says it, “We got plenty of nowhere here, child.” With nothing just a stone’s throw from anywhere else, life may not be easy but at least it’ll be quiet.

Or will it?

I’m a sucker for Weird West stories, without a doubt. And I can say with all confidence that Greenhorns is off to a very weird start. The tone is every bit as off-putting as odd Uncle Alva, and the story rolls along without pausing too long on any one thing. More than once, I found myself wrong-footed, thrown by a narrative loop that I thought was heading in one direction before it doubled back on me and took us somewhere else.

Mike Rosenzweig is setting a loping pace that kept me guessing, touching on potential plot points & then side stepping them to be explored later. That might’ve resulted in some jumps in dialogue, with characters turning onto a tangent from one panel to the next. Then again, I’ve known real not comicbook people who do the same thing so who’s to judge? The thing that Rosenzweig does exceedingly well is in establishing a truly bizarre story that grows from very humble beginnings. He’s also a fair hand at the lettering, using a few clever ploys to shine the light on who’s thinking what.

The artistic team of Athila Fabbio (illustration) & Macarena Cortes (colors) is keeping pace with the world building in progress. There is no doubt that the children are innocents who have only begun to experience the hardships life has to offer. Likewise, Uncle Alva, as hard a man as he needs to be, is on the other end of Life’s rope… but is he pulling for or against his new young’uns? With Cortes’s finishing touches, Fabbio’s world takes on depth and dimension with a pretty straightforward color palette. Although some of the layouts might have done well with a little flourish (I’m thinking on a dream sequence that had nothing to distinguish it from the rest of the comic) I very much like the result, as we’ve got a comic that’s just easy on the eyes.

This one is just getting started, and it looks like there’s a lot of comic still to come. Greenhorns does its job as an intro, opening up the Old West that we know & adding in layers of the strange & bizarre. Even if I wasn’t already a fan of the genre, I’d be interested in this one just for its approach to the supernatural elements running through it.

Final Score: 10/13

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