COMIC REVIEW: Shepperton’s Waltz

Shepperton’s Waltz follows the  story of a drunk man, Angus Shepperton, who lives in a typical Western town. He is the last man around and something strange is going on; only he seems to be able to survive it. Think John Constantine in a Western environment.

In the first couple of pages, the dialogue and the art couple together to help build the world that we are about to inhabit.  Particular praise must go to the dialogue: after only a couple of lines, we immediately start to understand what kind of story we are reading.

The story moves at a nice pace, flipping back and forth through time to add tension. We are shown flashbacks: just as you think the flashback will evolve more, we are thrown back into the present. This clever technique makes you want to keep reading to find out what happened in the past and how the characters managed to get into the position they are in now. It is impressive that this frantic need to page turn happens so early on in a book that I had no emotional connection to at the beginning.  Further, when the story really gets going, the urge to find out what is going to happen gets bigger and bigger until you are on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out whether Angus will achieve his goals or not.

The twists and turns keep on coming, leaving the reader shocked and excited to see what happens next. The first big reveal will leave you dumbfounded, as you will not see it coming at all. This lures the reader into thinking there could be nothing else to shock us with. Yet the creative team deliver another surprise right at the end of the book. This twist was more expected, but because there was such a big reveal earlier on, the reader is made to think that this is not going to happen. This is true storytelling at its best, and all credit must go to the creative team for perfectly building the tension and leaving the reader never knowing what was going to happen next.

The art is stunning, with some lovely colours to add depth. The darker textures and the oranges used really make you feel like you are looking at dusk in a cowboy town. The panel structures generally work very well. However there is one flaw in the book. At one moment the panel structure is exactly the same to how it was on the previous page. Further the images on both of these pages are very similar too. It would have been nice to see the creative team try something slightly different with the page structure and images here because it feels slightly repetitive. But apart from this one issue, it works well.

One issue is that the drunk cowboy theme is hardly different. However, the way the creators do it adds intrigue to the typical story that we have read so many times. Yet, it would have been nicer for them to have found a different vice for Angus to fall into, rather than the typical alcohol-dependent lone hero.

Shepperton’s Waltz is a highly entertaining Western thriller. It looks stunning and the dialogue flows well, creating a story that is gripping with many shocks, twists and turns that the reader will never see coming.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Halsall

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