Genre-bending is the way of a post-apocalyptic, science fiction future in Dust: Withered Earth. Writer James Ninness and artist John Narcomey put forth a valiant effort to keep their book competent and faithful to both the science fiction and western genres. There’s plenty of futuristic and tragic references, tense moments before explosive gun battles and terse conversations between gruff men and beautiful women.
While Ninness’ script takes a few leaps of faith regarding plot points, he presents one of the most endearing and sad cowboys to ever hit a western comic book and the most gruesome, lipless villain to mumble his way through any comic book. Jim Dust, the title’s protagonist is tragic. He’s had some horrible history that’s left him mentally unstable, a cold-blooded killer and an invisible friend that only he can see named buddy. All that’s left of this man is a strong sense of ethics and badass skills with guns.
Narcomey’s art is appropriately rough around the edges and enhances the tone that Ninness’ writing establishes. Visually, Dust: Withered Earth is rough and harsh, adding flesh to Ninness’ characters. Narcomey’s characters are all individuals with unique looks and emotive facial expressions. Narcomey also does some very interesting things with color that really pays off at the end of the book where it all makes beautiful sense.
Well, the next time your in the local comic book store or walking the aisles of a comic book convention and see Dust: Withered Earth, if you want to read a well-done indie comic, just pay the price, take it home and enjoy.