If you've ever found yourself craving a western adventure with a dash of steampunk and a pinch of fantasy, then Next Town Over is just the thing for you! Created by Erin Mehlos, Next Town Over is the story of John Henry Hunter, a wanted man throughout the west with some sinister magical powers, and Vane Black, the bounty hunter that is trying to catch him.
Next Town Over has one of the best stories that I have read in web comics. Though the present day action is about Vane's attempts at capturing Hunter, interwoven throughout the scenes are flashbacks, that show how things used to be between the two of them before Vane died and came back to life. Their mysterious back story is only a small part of these complex characters. They are well developed, and neither one can be truly said to be the “good guy” or the “bad guy”. Hunter is a criminal, but he seems to be just a bit more mindful of other lives than Vane, who kills or maims anyone standing between her and killing Hunter.
The artwork is something to marvel at as well. The details really capture life in a western setting. Even the panel frames go along beautifully with the theme, which is something that I rarely would find myself paying attention to. Action scenes are notoriously difficult to illustrate in comics, but the continuous action of Next Town Over flows well and does not end up looking awkward.
The steampunk and fantasy elements also add to visuals of the comic, as well as the story. How did Hunter acquire his powers? Is he responsible for Vane's (un)life? Why is she so mad at him that she is willing to go to any lengths to have her revenge? What happened between them?
Their past seems to have been a happy one at some point, so what happened to change that? As the comic continues, the back story is revealed little by little.
Next Town Over is a beautifully illustrated web comic from Eisner-nominated artist Erin Mehlos. Mysteries abound in each succeeding town that Vane and Hunter destroy as the events that bound them and the events that ultimately tore them apart are slowly revealed.
This web comic usually updates every Saturday but is currently on hiatus until May 12th. That's not to say that there are no updates, as currently there is a short story interlude being presented. With any luck, the wait will be over quickly!
Images copyright of Erin Mehlos.