It's been a month, which means it's once again time to check in on 12 Gauge Comics' newest mini series, "Sherwood, Texas", as it ships its' second issue. This is the first priced at regular price, as the debut issue was offered at only a dollar (and had mostly been offered for free in May). Writer Shane Berryhill, artist Daniel Hillyard, and colorist Charlie Kirchoff continue with their recreation of the legend of Robin Hood set within the fictionalized version of a real life ghost town in Sherwood, Texas. The modern day "Nobles" are a biker gang within the area, who've murdered the father of ex-Navy veteran Rob Hood and his estranged half brother Will. Having left Rob for dead, a year has passed since the first issue and the "Nobles" gang (and their leader, "Prince") are continuing along with their usual operations of kidnapping girls for sexual slavery in Mexico, arranging for bike meets back in Texas, and general sleaziness all around. Little do they know that a vigilante conspiracy is rising in Sherwood Forest to finally end their reign of terror once and for all.
Now calling himself "Loxley" and shifting to using a bow due to an arm injury, Rob has organized with Will, Maria (the daughter of the sheriff of Nottingham) and the local mission's Padre Tuck to work with Prospect Much to begin plotting the downfall of the gang. Rather than an archery contest as in the original myth, it is a modern day motorcycle jousting contest at the bike meet which gets Much in with the "Nobles". Meanwhile, Loxley and Will began stealing from the gang and delivering their stolen goods to the townspeople living along the Texas/Mexican border who have been consistently terrorized by the gang. However, it quickly turns out that the gang is very much like a hydra in that undermining one aspect of their cartel isn't enough to slow down the "Nobles" operations for long.
The cast really seems to come together in this issue more so than in the previous issue, and the modern take at the legend continues to come together here. Hillyard's art manages to strike the balance between providing a light illustrative style that works for a modern myth, yet is gritty enough to work when telling a crime story about two rival biker gangs. The design work on the gang logos is spot on with some brilliant color work by Kirchoff as well. Now that Loxley is wearing the green and tan outfit and using a bow, one can see the "Robin Hood" legend being reborn, although the story also works as an engaging crime thriller as well. There appears to be a building of momentum with every issue, promising a more spectacular and ultimately violent climax to come.
As a five issue mini series, Berryhill and Hillyard only have a few more issues to wrap up their initial run on this franchise. Yet having a clear beginning, middle, and end which gives the creative team a structure towards creating a finite and thus potentially more powerful run. The legend of Robin Hood has long been alive and well in superhero comics, unless one thinks that characters such as Green Arrow or Hawkeye came out of a vacuum. Thankfully, Berryhill and Hillyard have managed to recreate the legend on their own terms in a way which maintains the essence of the characters without being derivative of anything else. The next issue will mark the midway point of the series, and one hopes the creative team can continue on their enjoyable ride.