The Enfield Gang Massacre #1 Review: That Texas Blood Returns in Bloody Good Fashion

The Enfield Gang Massacre is the first spin-off of Image's neo-Western That Texas Blood.

After an extended hiatus, the crew behind That Texas Blood has returned in exceptionally spectacular fashion. Though the regular Texas Blood narrative has always experimented with its storytelling through the years, its first spin-off—The Enfield Gang Massacre—goes back to the mid-1800s as the West was being settled. Enfield explores the world of outlaws and the new frontier, wasting little time to drop readers into the thick of it.

At the root of the story is one Montgomery Enfield, the eponymous bandit. Though the story starts with Enfield robbing a bank, readers quickly find out Enfield is ready to leave a life of crime behind. The only problem is, the banker connected to Enfield's last job has been found murdered in gruesome fashion.

The debut itself deals heavily with a subversion of expectations, dipping its toes into the mode of whodunnit while still remaining true to itself and the genre it finds itself occupying. On that front, it's pretty clear how well writer Christopher Condon knows the art of the Western, with a tremendous amount of care put into each word that appears on the page. That sentiment can carry over to Jacob Phillips' work as well; with rough-and-tumble line art accentuated with light and airy colors, the artist continues to prove why he's one a key artist to watch in comics today.

The plot of The Enfield Gang Massacre is far from revolutionary. In fact, some would argue it's not even a fresh or reimagined story. Where it sets itself apart, however, is the tremendous amount of work put into character development in just under 30 pages, giving readers an entire set of characters to understand and see inside-and-out in record time. At no point does Condon's script stall, nor does it clip along too fast. Instead, it's all expertly paced and is unabashedly itself, refusing to bend or break in an attempt to reinvent the wheel. This story knows exactly what it wants to be, and it executes that plan flawlessly.

Fans who've kept up with That Texas Blood will be excited for the same creative team to return to their neo-noir world; at the same time, those who haven't picked up any of the property's previous issues won't be disappointed in the slightest. What they will receive is a dynamite debut that's a perfect fit for any reader of the genre.

Published by Image Comics

On August 9, 2023

Written by Christopher Condon

Art by Jacob Phillips

Colors by Jacob Phillips with Pip Martin

Letters by Jacob Phillips

Cover by Jacob Phillips