The great thing about having really good friends is that they don't have to do anything remarkable to keep being your friend, but when they do, you really get a chance to celebrate.
Right now, that's the case with my amigo Beau Smith.
His comic book mini-series Cobb: Off The Leash has been collected into the graphic novel size Cobb Magazine, and it's superb. Here's my review, combining elements of what I wrote for Scoop and some new thoughts on the subject:
When the story collected in this magazine-sized graphic novel was first serialized, the first issue grabbed us, put us in a chair, slapped us around and bit and made us confess it was a really great comic book story. In other words, it had Beau Smith written all over it. Now, with the story complete in one publication, it reads like a great action-adventure story should. There isn't much in the way of posing, there aren't any stupid catch phrases, and the action isn't over the top. Instead, what readers get is a well-paced story packed with pragmatic bad guys in the form of Russian mobsters, relentlessly solid good guys who don't have a lot of contrived angst for doing the right thing, and circumstances spiraling out of control when the two sides meet. The action is spectacular, but not unbelievable. Likewise the plot, and Cobb and his friends are people you would definitely want to have your back in a fight.
In a career marked thus far by diverse characters from a variety of publishers, ranging from The Black Terror at Eclipse Comics to Guy Gardner at DC, Smith has established himself as a writer with a distinct take on things. Whether he's been working on someone else's characters, such as Wildcat, or his own, like Wynonna Earp, his characters have had a certain rough-and-tumble directness to them, a straight forward honesty akin to John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. That said, even Smith's diehard fans might not find themselves ready for Cobb. Matched with the fluid linework of artist Eduardo Barreto, Smith has poured himself and his sensibilities into this story and the results are outstanding, a real page turner of a read.