The Desperados omnibus brings together all the stories that have been published since the first issue came out in 1997. IDW is the third publisher(Image Comics first, then DC)to carry the stories, all written by Jeff Mariotte and illustrated by a variety of artists(John Cassaday, John Severin, John Lucas, and Alberto Dose). They are of that genre that mixes westerns with gothic horror, nearly five hundred pages of story and art.
Gideon Brood, a man in his fifties, Jerome Alexander Betts, a former slave, and Abby DeGrazia, former teacher, former prostitute, are trailing a monster, who murders Indian women who’ve married white men and kills and skins the products of that union. Brood’s wife and five year old son were the latest victims. He derives a power from tanning the hides and rubbing the blood over himself.
Along the way, Brood rescued Betts from a lynch mob and hooked up with DeGrazia, herself almost a victim of that same monster.
Also on the case is a young Pinkerton from Chicago, Race Kennedy. When the trio keeps showing up, he, at first believes they may be the killers until he learns the truth.
Once that case is resolved, Kennedy joins the group as they travel together, running into all sorts of odd stuff. A spiritualist hires them to get her group to a railroad in a far town. They run into a “zombie” raised from the dead, by an old Indian, after Brood kills him. Geronimo asks them to find a legendary cave in the Dakotas from which all the buffalo on Earth came. It’s apparently blocked so no more can emerge and must be cleared before those on Earth are slaughtered by the white man.
Throw in a grieving sheriff, whose wife was accidentally killed by Brood in a shoot-out when a bullet hit his gun barrel just as he pulled the trigger, and a financier who lost a lot of money because Brood and company solved that first case, and who keeps hiring people to kill them, one a sadist who derives pleasure from the act of murder, it keeps the gang busy and makes for a fun few hours of reading.
I’d never encountered any of the individual books before reading this omnibus. With five stories in four miniseries, nineteen issues, there is plenty of bang for your buck and highly recommended if you like this sort of thing.