Head to Big Thunder Mountain in 1878 Arizona with the newest Disney Kingdoms book Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1, a fun book with a charming lead character and some great visuals.
From the very first page, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1 is full of charm, with a leading lady named Abby who is full of spunk and attitude. This woman refuses to be a “proper” lady of the late 1800s, and she’s got an adventurous spirit. Lucky for readers, she’s come out West to be with her Dad, owner of the Big Thunder Mountain gold mine. I’m a sucker for westerns, and this comic has all the charm of a good ol’ duster. You won’t find a ton of despair here like in many westerns, but this comic has a spirit of fun and adventure of the prospectors heading out West looking for gold. This issue is all-ages friendly without pandering to younger readers, and Abby is looking like she’ll become a strong character for younger girls to read having an epic adventure in the West.
Hopeless’ dialogue is great, with Abby’s razor wit apparent at all times. Each character’s dialogue is authentic, you can hear their speech patterns and while there are pages with a ton of speech on them, it is never overwhelming. Hopeless sets up a lot of the situation and issues with the mine in fairly short order, but rest assured this comic is jam packed with story. The cliffhanger is strong and, from the first page to the last, this is a well told story. The characters grabbed me and they didn’t let up, and Hopeless has me hooked.
Tigh Walker’s artwork is a huge aspect of the charm of this comic as his fantastic work brings Hopeless’ words to life in a great way. Abby’s energy and zeal for life are obvious and Walker does a great job capturing the spirit of adventure in this story. He pencils horses like they are no trouble at all, and the Arizona landscape is very pretty with his pencil work and Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colours. Walker’s angles for panels are interesting and even when a lot of dialogue is occurring to set up the situation regarding the mine, the page layouts are intriguing enough to keep readers engaged. The mine itself is a character by Walker’s hand and the final page is very impressive, and it certainly convinced me to return for a second issue. This is a well penciled issue and Walker was a solid choice to work with Hopeless to tell this good ol’ fashioned adventure story.
This creative team has kicked off this series in a fun way and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1 appears to be in very good hands with Hopeless and Walker. The tone is great, the characters are charming and who doesn’t like a good adventure? A safe comic to read with kids but certainly not just for kids, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1 is definitely worth a try – it’s got a great Indiana-Jones-as-a-western-with-a-strong-female-lead vibe, and more comics like that are always a good thing! I’m in for more!
The Verdict: 8.5/10