The conclusion of this story continues its ability to tell a new story featuring Sergio Leone’s famous character without drifting too far from what’s been established. Given Chuck Dixon’s long history of writing corporate superhero franchises, he obviously has a skill for finding new territory while also remaining true to what’s come before. This issue is a mix of new moments that add to the myth of ‘the Man with No Name’ and allusions to famous scenes from the movies.
With his bounty target in his custody, all that remains for the infamous Man is to rob a train full of stolen Mexican gold. Working with his captive and another man, they plan to ambush the train, overcome the French soldiers in control, and do so before Mexican bandits can beat them to it. Simple, right? If there’s a flaw in this issue and its execution, it’s that the whole scheme is too simple and works out too cleanly. Given the odds against the trio, there should be a larger struggle. At the same time, one of the appeals of this character is that he’s a clever strategist, often two steps ahead of his opponents and able to think on his feet quickly. The ease at which they take the train isn’t surprising, but does lack the climactic feeling that it deserves.
Beyond that, Dixon does add on new struggles for the characters and wraps up nearly everything either explicitly or implicitly. One of the best scenes is a callback to the three-way Mexican standoff from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” but Dixon puts a clever twist on it here. The interplay between the Man and his captive, Devereaux, is also rather good. It's not as good as the interactions with Tuco, but still pretty good.
A big part of the quality of this book is Esteve Polls’ art, which has been stunning throughout all five issues. His European sensibilities are perfect for the subject matter and style of this western, which has its roots in similar sensibilities. Polls manages to capture the feeling of dirt and ugliness found in Leone’s films while also mixing that with the beauty he displayed at the same time. Small touches like the sun reflected off a pair of glasses, or the sneer on a Mexican bandit’s face give the world and its characters a reality much like film.
Most comics that try and tell new stories with film characters fail because they can’t bring something new to the table while also remaining true to the source material. Chuck Dixon and Esteve Polls manage to pull it off in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” #5 by crafting an entertaining, original story that uses key elements of the character and his world. If you’re a fan of the films, this comic is definitely worth a look.
(Ladies and gentlemen, CBR’s preview of Esteve Polls’ art!)