Shane has really hit the mark with these last two issues, delivering a tale that pits two best friends against each other. It has been heartbreaking but still feels undoubtedly like the fun Reed Gunther stories we've come to love. Chris' art is just downright amazing. From his cover, featuring a battered and broken Reed to the awe-inspiring double-page spread mid-issue, he captures the action and the emotion of these characters and really pushes his funny, cartoon style to new heights. This issue will have you crying, laughing, and then cheering.
It's deep stuff for an all-ages book. Yes, the book is a silly story about a cowboy and his bear, but the Houghton brothers don't pull any punches or dumb anything down for the kids who might read it. They explore themes like friendship and sacrifice, and they know that kids are smart enough to get it, and that parents or just grown ups like me will enjoy the book, as well. This issue is action packed but never really violent. It's tense and the stakes couldn't be higher, but it isn't scary or gory in any way. Shane and Chris have found a perfect balance that makes Reed Gunther truly an all-ages book.
This issue may be their last for some time, and while I wish them all the best on their future endeavors, I hope they come back quickly to the story of Reed Gunther, the Bear-Riding Cowboy.