It seems that sometimes people just don’t know when to stop.  this is especially true for mobsters.  I was reading this article about mobsters who, even after they enter the witness protection program, just cannot stay out of the spotlight!  It is almost like they want to be found!

Now here is a witness protection program that looks like it has some potential: sending witnesses back in time!

In Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Grey’s Trailblazer, “an assassin turns state evidence against his employers and is given a once in a lifetime chance to enter Operation trailblazer – the most unique witness protection program in the world.  Sent bac kto the Old West, the assassin begins a new life, but it isn’t long before his past and the future catches up with him.”

As soon as I read that description, I knew I had to read this book!

From page one all the way through to the end of the book, Palmiotti and Gray keep the action intense and the story moving.  At a slim 48 pages, Trailblazer packs a LOT of story!  This is a great balance of old-school done-in-one storytelling and modern sensibilities.  But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  Palmiotti and Gray have proven time and time again with Jonah Hex that they are capable of telling satisfying and complete single issue stories!

Traiblazer has a great twist on an old concept.  While we have all read plenty of stories aboutpeople on the run from the mob, the time travel element adds something new.  It is all handled in a believable way and it makes sense the context of the story.  With only the government in control of time-travel technology it seems like an easy and effective way to deal with potentially troublesome people under their protection.  This is the kind of concept which could be mined for plenty of stories.

I felt the same way after I saw the original Stargat movie.   Ironically, it too involved a portal that transported people to a far away location where they were cut off from home and had to discover how this new land worked.  That concept spawned three tv series which ran a total of seventeen seasons.  Palmiotti and Gray’s concept could easily support several more books.  Then again, it would make a pretty decent tv series as well!

The art by Jim Daly is serviceable, but it is a bit of a letdown after the fantastic Dave Johnson cover.  Daly’s art is a bit loose, and his character’s faces are a bit inconsistent from page to page.  However his panel construction is good and he pays attention to the money shots and big reveals.  The brisk pacing of the story also is an asset, not allowing the reader to linger too long over any single panel.

Trailbalzer is the comic book equivalent of a blockbuster movie.  It is fun.  It is a bit absurd.  It is wild and will keep you entertained.  Not every comic has to be something dark and full of intricate twists, turns, and metaphysical navel-gazing.  If that is your type of story, then you might want to look elsewhere.

My only serious complaint about the book is that I wish there was more of it!  It just felt like it was over too soon!  As I mentioned above, there is so much potential with this concept that Palmiotti and Gray could have easily enriched the world a bit without padding or stretching the story needlessly.  I mean, there is a town with people  from the future, interacting with people from the 1870′s who cannot know that the others are from the future.  Seems like it would lead to some suspicions, rumors, and some uncomfortable situations.  I would have loved to have seen just a hint of that!

But who knows?  Maybe Palmiotti and Gray have more stories up their sleeves!  For now, Trailblazer is a wonderful introduction to a fantastic world full of potential and promise.  Hopefully it is not the last we have seen of it.

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