If Zorro had a sidekick, Lady Rawhide probably would not be the kind of vigilante he’d pick out. Nope, with her sexy, gravity defying bodice and thigh high boots in a very camouflaged red and white, our fierce heroine is dressed more for a stripper pole than a Western gun battle, but then again, Red Sonja wears a chainmail bikini to sword fights, so who am I to criticism her, she’s holding the big guns . . . I mean, big gun, after all. (Sorry, had an old Skid Row song pop into my head there.) The lack of clothing aside, Lady Rawhide has one major problem in this graphic novel: ninguna historia! Something that even her rather noticeable assets cannot hide for long.
You see the story here revolves around a gang of outlaw cowgirls, who have each experienced horrible oppression at the hands of the Mexican government. Some of these young ladies have had their families murdered in front of them. Others have been beaten and brutalized by soldiers. But no matter the individual acts of savagery they’ve suffered through, the simple fact is that every one of these outlaw women have vengeance on their minds, and they are determined to punish the corrupt Mexican Governor and his evil U.S. Government backers – no matter how many innocents get killed in the crossfire!
Then there is Lady Rawhide. She is a very refined Spanish Lady who straps on a gun and a mask and picks up her whip every night to become a masked heroine for the oppressed people of Old Mexico. Erupting from her hidden cave, she risks life and limb meting out justice to the evil los soldados. However, even as she fights this despicable bunch, she finds herself having sympathy and perhaps more for their leader: the honest and patriotic Captain Reyes. But Lady Rawhide’s true quandary comes when she discovers one of the cowgirl outlaws and learns of their plan to kill and destroy their way to the Mexican Governor. Now, our scantily clad heroine finds herself torn between bringing the Governor or the cowgirls to justice.
The set up of the story is decent enough for a Western, and honestly – ignoring her outfit for a moment – Lady Rawhide fits the mold of the classic Zorro myth: hiding by day as a normal Spanish landholder before turning into a masked vigilante at night. The writer even devotes more than a little time trying to develop her character, letting a reader know about her life, her allies, her enemies, her motives as well as showing where her sympathies lie. But once you get past the setup, this story just fizzles. Sure, there are fights galore. A big battle at the end. Unfortunately, though, there is no emotion and no suspense in the story, which made it difficult to read.
With that being said, the artwork really needed to carry this graphic novel. You know, the illustrations being so beautiful, so amazing that they made you forget about the plot holes and narrative missteps of the writers. Here though, it did not really happen. Sure, Lady Rawhide looks amazing in that stripper sort of way, but even in her red and white glory, she can’t stop you from noticing the less than stellar artwork around her much less the glaring absence of a digestible story. Because, honestly, there are some spots in this book where the quality of the art drops considerable, and that is something that just cannot happen in a graphic novel where the art is the star of the show.
Now, as I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I like the occasional B movie-type graphic novel. I read them knowing they are not the next Watchmen or whatever. Nothing wrong with a bit of sugar coated super-heroine eye candy every now and again. But with that being said, the story still matters, and if there is not a story . . . then you better make sure that the art is spectacular. Unfortunately, Lady Rawhide failed in both areas, and the best parts of the book were the cover sketches of her auto sexy.
I received this book from Netgalley and Dynamite Entertainment in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.
Buy Lady Rawhide Volume 1 at Amazon.