“It was 1957, and life was still finding new ways to punch Bonnie in the face. No more playing in the Southern California Orange County shorebreak. No more walks up and down Avenida del Mar. No more sunsets on the pier . . . Things change. People don’t. And, the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Two years after the fallout from the events of Hit: 1955, Bonnie Brae thinks she’s found safety in the small, seaside town of San Clemente. She’s wrong. LAPD Detective Harvey Slater thinks he’s seen the last of her. He hasn’t. And both are finding out the ghosts of the last two years are restless.
Noir is always a rich genre to mine, and after BOOM! Studios’ 4-issue run of Hit: 1955 about an undercover LAPD wetworks squad taking down organized crime, writer Bryce Carlson has returned bearing pages of rich, bloody treasures. In the tradition of James Ellroy and Mickey Spillane, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker, Carlson has taken aim at the giants of the genre and proven himself worthy again. His story burns with stale smoke and gunpowder, the sour sweat of dreams denied and potential lost in the understew of the City.
And placing it in this pivotal era of change for the LAPD only serves to give him a bigger, deeper sandbox to play in. The fall of organized crime, the shift to Parker Center, and the looming modernization of the police force as the LAPD seems to have taken control of the chaos from before; all of these are looming over the men fighting the real fight for Los Angeles, as threats to them come from their own people and their own souls.
Perfectly capturing the noir sensibility, Russ Manning Award-winner Vanesa R. Del Rey also returns to ink this gritty tale, aptly drenching her frames in the darkness of the story, allowing the desperate faces of the characters to serve as the only flickers of dim hope.
Pick them up individually as they come out or deny yourself a great pleasure and wait for the collection. You’ll only have yourself to blame.
VERDICT: Five Smoking, Empty Rounds out of Five