In life, there’s one hell of a price to pay, and in the end, we all must give in when it’s due. A western thriller set on a snow-filled mountain exploring the price of friendship as time has finally come for two friends to pay The Price. This one-shot comic was created by Brent Harshman and Kevin Castaniero at Dauntless Stories. As a fan of both Dauntless Stories and Westerns, I was happy to read such an interesting take on a new western comic that gave me quite an unusual surprise.
The Price follows the story of Reg and Lyle, a pair of outlaws that have escaped from the perils of the law to the mountains during a bad winter storm. The two men find themselves holed up in an abandoned shack, without food and water; Ultimately having to live off the land until the storm blows over and they can continue their travels pulling heists along the way.
As the story develops, we explore the trials and tribulations of Lyle and Reg’s friendship through exposition as they struggle in the harsh environment, slowly giving in to cabin fever being together for nearly a month. Like with all good things, however, they don’t last, and the story takes a wicked turn before ending on what I consider a mind-bending and slightly confusing twist as it makes the reader question what was real and what wasn’t.
As I read through the book, I enjoyed how well the artwork carried the story along and gave us a real, gritty feel of this western environment; Snow filled lands with little sign of life and the ratty looking shack that Reg and Lyle were trapped in as they barely kept a fire going within its walls. I think it was pretty interesting to see two supposed childhood friends take a turn in their relationship —granted, Reg taking advantage of Lyle seemed to be their undoing as Lyle does everything to keep the men alive through the harsh storm. Readers can most likely relate to Lyle and his troubles in such a one-sided friendship, so I don’t blame him for feeling the way he does.
A portion of the book that really gave me that feeling happened to be Reg beating the crap out of his now crazed companion. Seeing such raw emotions on the faces of these two outlaws as they tussle gave me such chills, especially with the events leading up to the encounter. This was by far the part of the book that took it over the top for me, as the writer continued the theme of what the price of friendship is and what happens when payment is due to make or break such a solid friendship. Also, on this same page, the colors enhance the fight scene as blood splatters around the environment, and the tone of the story intensifies with its dark turn.
The Price is a gritty western thriller, packed with enough twists and turns that you’ll be on the edge of your seat, constantly questioning everything. If you’re a fan of comics such as Jonah Hex or games like Red Dead Redemption, then this is the book for you. For those new to Dauntless Stories and the material they release, then this is the perfect opportunity for you to jump into another quality comic project under the year-old publisher!