Image: Dark Horse Comics

Geof Darrow and Dave Stewart’s Shaolin Cowboy is a comic book that is as surprising as it is impeccably crafted. Following a Shaolin monk fighting his way across the American desert, the series began in 2004 as part of the Wachowski siblings’ Burlyman Entertainment comic-book company, but it made the jump to Dark Horse Comics in 2013 for a four-issue miniseries that is one of the purest action stories ever put on the page. That last Shaolin Cowboy book was a nonstop action extravaganza, showcasing Darrow’s skill for fight choreography and dynamic composition without sacrificing any of the meticulous detail that Darrow is known for, and next month’s Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop The Reign? picks up immediately after those events, which have left the lead hero battered and exhausted.

This exclusive preview of Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop The Reign? spotlights the tonal shift at the top of this new miniseries, and Darrow is slowing down for an issue after the breathless carnage of what came before. The hero needs to regain his footing and heal before he jumps back into action, but he’s still able to protect himself from predators like the vultures that want to feast on his fresh flesh. The big action moment of this preview comes when Shaolin Cowboy grabs a vulture’s neck and squeezes it so hard that its eyeballs shoot out like bullets, penetrating the torsos of the two vultures lurking above. Moments like that are what make Shaolin Cowboy such an exhilarating read, but the artistry in these pages is incredible, from the majesty of Darrow’s compositions to the detail of his linework to the atmosphere and texture of Stewart’s coloring. Readers can get pulled into this violent, stunning world when Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop The Reign? #1 goes on sale April 19, but in the meanwhile, they can pore over these gorgeous preview pages.

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Image: Dark Horse Comics; cover by Geof Darrow and Dave Stewart
Image: Dark Horse Comics
Image: Dark Horse Comics

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Image: Dark Horse Comics
Image: Dark Horse Comics