Noir might be beaten & bloodied to a pulp, but in Hit: 1957 #1, it is alive and well. Seeping out of this book, really. The opening narration is wonderfully dramatic, especially if you read it with that gravelly, smoke-filled voice that’s synonymous with noir. In fact, go get a cigar, turn the lights low, and wait for a storm before reading Hit.
The story opens with Bonnie, a girl with a rap sheet a mile long, a fake name, and some killer moves. It then introduces to our sometimes similarly-designed cop protagonists (looking at you, Slater, or wait, was that Sticky?), haunted by past mistakes and abuses, shaping them into men that just can’t change, no matter how their situation does (or doesn’t). Good intentions abound, marred by bad actions.
The narrative bounces between Slater & co. after running down some mafiosos in Los Angeles and Bonnie after getting a lift (of sorts) to Las Vegas. It’s building anticipation for the eventual crossing of paths, putting Bonnie in the clutches of the man Slater, Sticky, and Haywood are after. The history of these characters was born in Hit: 1955 but at no point does this book make its predecessor essential reading. But if we’re all honest, Hit: 1957 will put Hit: 1955 on one’s reading list if isn’t there already.
Writer Bryce Carlson is clearly comfortable with this world and these characters. There are sprinkles of past lives that imply a deep understanding of more than just their motivation, but who they are at their core and where they come from. Here’s hoping Haywood and Slick get the same treatment in the next three issues that Bonnie and Slater got here. Vanesa Del Rey’s artwork is gorgeous and teaming with Niko Guardia is a combination worth buying the book to see. Just look at that cover! Like the story, the art’s a bit grungey—solid lines, but a lot of nondescript faces. It works, though, as it makes everyone seem like they’re constantly obscured by shadows, or even guilt. Genuinely, these colors suit the mood, the scene, and the characters expertly.
Bottom line is simple: if you dig crime books, pick this up. If you’ve never read a crime book, pick this up! If you like great colors, beautiful art, and dangerous characters, pick this up. We’re in for a ride down a dark, dank road…And that’s a good thing.
—Any character confusion was alleviated immediately upon re-reading, which implies reader malfunction.
—The Hollywood Hacker has to be Chekhov’s Gun of Hit: 1957. Also, barf. It felt like it was ripped from Se7en.
—Telling a man to “breathe easy” and giving him a cigarette before suffocating him with saran wrap seems a little rude.
—”Spicy food and even spicier men” may well be a new favorite line.