Review: Cowboys and Aliens

Published on March 29th, 2011

I don’t know about the rest of you, but one of the movies I’m really looking forward to this summer is Cowboys and Aliens. I just don’t want to wait for July 29th, it’s so far away! Fortunately for me, this movie happens to be based on a graphic novel also called Cowboys and Aliens. The book has been out of print for quite a while now, but the good folks at Platinum Studios have just re-released it so that we could all have the chance to read it before the movie comes out. So, let’s take this opportunity to take a look at this book for this week’s Trade Tuesday.

cowboysandaliensThe book starts off in the old west, specifically 1873, where an old time caravan is being attacked by a group of Apache warriors. The only thing protecting this group of settlers is a couple of gunslingers, Zeke Jackson and Verity Jones. Zeke quickly realizes that he and his partner won’t be enough, so he tries to sneak off for help. He is chased by a couple of the Apaches and he’s about to take an arrow to the head when suddenly an alien space ship flies over them and crashes into the ground in front of them. The ship opens up and a bunch of bull-sized aliens exit the craft. The Native Americans attempt to make contact, but are instantly shot and killed by the aliens who take the bodies for scientific dissection.

Commander Dar (the head alien honcho) then proclaims that Earth is going to be taken over by his people once the science officer, Kai informs him that the planet is perfect for their survival needs. Dar and his alien army then go to the nearest army base and kill every soldier to show the inhabitants of Earth that they mean business. Meanwhile, Zeke is inspecting the remains of one of the aliens that were killed in the crash and finds what he believes is one of their sophisticated weapons. He then heads to Silver City where Verity has brought the settlers that they were escorting. Zeke tries to warn everyone about the aliens, but before he can convince them, the town is attacked by several aliens on hover bikes. Verity tries shooting at them, but her gun is useless. Fortunately, the gun Zeke found is able to melt the bikes that the aliens are riding. Zeke’s gun isn’t enough for all the attacking aliens though and the settlers are forced out of the city. The people are only able to survive when they are rescued by the Apache. With the settlers gone, Dar’s people are then able to work on their communication device to bring in their fleet of conquering ships.

Zeke and his group then meet up with the Apache tribe to join with them in getting rid of the aliens. The cowboys and the Apache decide to put their differences aside to fight off the alien invasion, which goes a lot better when Kai shows up at the Apache camp. Kai admits that her people were enslaved by Dar’s people and she has decided to do whatever she can to help them destroy the aliens’ communication system. The group decide that they can take Dar by surprise if they get back into the city by using the nearby mines as a back door to the city. Zeke and Kai are making their way through the mines, but are attacked by some of Dar’s soldiers and captured.

The next day, Zeke and his pals are to be executed by the aliens, but they’re rescued by the Apache warriors at the last minute when they show up on flying horses thanks to the anti-gravity metal they took off the hover bikes and made into horse shoes. During the chaos Kai is shot and wounded by Dar. So, Zeke takes the opportunity to call him out, old west style. Zeke and Dar go for a stand off where Zeke is able to shoot Dar and kill the would be conqueror. Later, everyone gets to celebrating the defeat of the aliens, while Kai calls to her fleet and proclaims that the people of Earth would be perfect to join their rebellion.

The best thing that this book has going for it is the concept. Who doesn’t want to see old west gunslingers fight off aliens? Why hasn’t this been done before? The biggest problem with this book is that it’s too short. It’s only about a hundred pages. I think they could have expanded on this and done a much more epic sci-fi battle. I read this in less than an hour and as soon as I finished, all I could think is that I want to see more. It was a really fun book, but I had a couple of issues. The end went way too quick and I thought that the flying horses were a bit too much. After reading this I can tell that the movie is going to be very different, but I’m hoping that that will be a good thing. If you like westerns and you like science fiction, this book was written for you. So, go to Amazon and pick up a copy to get yourself hyped up for the movie.

Ken Zeider