Lonesome 3: The Ties of Blood

Writer / Artist
Lonesome 3: The Ties of Blood
Lonesome 3 The Ties of Blood review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Cinebook - 978-1-80044-081-4
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 2021
  • UPC: 9781800440814
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Period drama

Having spent the opening two volumes of Lonesome in the wild lands of Kansas and Missouri in the early 1860s, Jean Swolfs switches the location to New York in the pre-Civil War era for The Ties of Blood. Our un-named hero discovered that dealing with malignant preacher Markham wasn’t an end to his vendetta, as Markham had been working for others when killing his parents, and that trail leads back to an influential figure. Their murderous personality was well defined during the closing pages of the The Ruffians.

Swolfs offers readers no concessions such as flashbacks to span the two year gap in publication since the previous volume. Our leading man arrives to a brutal welcome in New York, where three days earlier the mysterious Mary Lyle’s attempts to apprehend a significant player were only foiled by a daring escape. Here the leading figure finally acquires a name, Elijah Dawson, although that’s not necessarily the name he’ll want to go by after meeting his actual father.

More so than previous volumes, Swolfs the magnificent artist is held back by Swolfs the ordinary writer, incapable of cutting his story down to its essence, which comes into focus with the beauty of the Western scenery no longer an option in New York. Dawson is unwittingly connected to very dangerous elements actively promoting Civil War to further their own ends, but Swolf’s dense explanations drag the story down considerably, and slow the pace. Further suspect writing is Swolfs introducing Dawson’s talent of being able to read minds to a degree when touching them, yet only using it when it’s convenient for the plot. The final pages begin to investigate associated matters, but it’s too little, too late.

There’s no faulting the lush art, at its best toward the end when Swolfs eventually arrives at an action sequence on New York’s docks. Scenery, storytelling and attention to detail combine for a thrilling few pages, but there aren’t enough like them. As of writing the next instalment is yet to be published in Europe, so English translation will be a fair while in the future.