Story Synopsis: The Grave Doug Freshley
The Grave Doug Freshley is about a western gunslinger who looks after his friend’s son while extracting revenge in this week’s Comic Rewind.
Our hero Doug Freshley is a former schoolmaster and a plain old gunslinger in the truest sense of the term. He is just an everyman and is not the quickest draw in the west or the slowest. Freshley is a man who happens to have a gun has to use it sometimes.
Freshley is hired by his friend to tutor his precocious and rambunctious young son, Bat. While speaking with his friend, Freshley and his friend, get shot at and run for cover. However, his friend is hit and is dying. The friend’s last words were for Freshley to protect Bat and his wife. Freshley makes his way to the house as fast as he could. However, when he opened the door he was looking down the barrel of a revolver and is shot between the eyes.
Freshley failed to protect his friend’s wife, but the son survived by hiding. However, this isn’t the only good news because so did Freshley. A miracle or curse occurred at that moment and Freshley found out he can’t die. Freshley and Bat hunt down the outlaws who murdered Bat’s parents.
The Grave Doug Freshley was written by Josh Hechinger with art by MP Mann. BOOM! Comics’ Archaia imprint published the volume in 2011.
I Love Westerns
I really like western themes in media. The relative lawless nature of the old west means danger is always around the corner. People have to forge their own path and sometimes that means by less than legal means. A huge territory full of deserts and rattlesnakes, but very few lawmen means people must take the law into their own hands. I love that stuff, but I was born 100 years too late.
However, besides the western theme I love a good quest for revenge story and that is exactly what this comic is. Freshley is on a mission for revenge. The fact he apparently can’t die is a great help to his mission. However, a great hindrance is Bat and him never staying behind and always getting involved.
The Grave Doug Freshley Lacks Relationship Building
This was a really interesting comic and I love the theme and setting. However, I found the comic lacking in some serious ways. Freshley and Bat’s relationship is not explored at all. They don’t grow on each other or learn to really care about one another. They like each other, but it doesn’t turn into a father and son relationship. Freshley appears to see Bat as his friend’s son the entire comic.
The main reason for their relationship not being fully explored is that the revenge plot happens really quickly. I’d say within a week maybe two all the outlaws are dead. The comic didn’t give the time needed to have the pair grow to become like father and son. Freshley protects Bat not because he sees him as a surrogate son but because he said he would.
Why Bat Why?
In the end of the book Bat does something heroic to try and save Freshley, but it didn’t feel earned. It should have been a moment where the reader reflected on everything they went through and I understood why it happened. However, I did not at all. It felt like it was thrown in because it was the right thing to have at the end of a comic like this.
I liked this comic, but I wanted more of an adventure and their relationship explored more. I know nothing about who they are as people and everything positive felt unearned. If this comic was longer or two or three volumes these problems could have been fixed. I did enjoy the comic, but it was lacking a bit and the story was too rushed.
Rating for this comic rewind: