If Quentin Tarantino were to write and draw a comic book, it would look something like Stray Bullets. The question is: Is that a good thing?
I was highly interested in reading this graphic novel after hearing that author/artist David Lapham won an Eisner Award for Stray Bullets Vol 1 (1996). But if the art in Volume 1 resembles the art here in Volume 2 … then I don’t understand what criteria is used to issue an award. How do I describe this art? Like Mad Magazine trying to be dark rather than funny.
I am not familiar with the Stray Bullets series and I don’t know how Volume 2 fits in with Volume 1 or the subsequent volumes, but this set of stories seems to stand alone fairly well. In a dried up town somewhere out west, residents are waiting for the return of water for their beach front property (and they are hoping a massive earthquake will make that happen). A young couple are on the run from the Mob. A big, dim-witted red-neck becomes a hero and gets his fifteen minutes of fame, only to see it washed away. A mean-spirited police officer kills the town’s five-legged cow, and a woman, once beautiful, has plenty of demons to deal with.
The community is full of depravity and it’s hard … impossible! … to find someone to latch onto and care about. The big red-neck loser Nick comes closest as he talks a big game, but when it comes to being a man of action, he doesn’t get too far. There are drugs and violence and the hints of sex, but there is nothing that makes me want to enter this community and see what the people are up to today. Just reading it I felt like I might get my nose punched or shot at. Some people like to feel this way. I am not one of them.
I did enjoy seeing how the stories came together. Early on I thought perhaps these were different, un-related shorts, but as the stories found a way to weave together, I appreciated how the stories managed to be a part of the larger picture. If I actually cared about any of the people it would have been even more interesting.
While I’ve come to really enjoy a wide variety of graphic novels lately, this particular one doesn’t speak to me at all and I simply can not recommend it.
Looking for a good book? Stray Bullets, Vol.2 is a dark graphic novel that focuses on a run-down community that;s not good for much other than being a hide-away for people trying to avoid the Mob.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Stray Bullets, Volume 2
author: David Lapham
artist: David Lapham
publisher: El Capitan
paperback, 224 pages