BCP Group Review – Stray Bullets: Killers #1 (Image)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: David Lapham
Release Date: 12th March 2014

Another week, another BCP Group Review, and this time the team is taking a look at Stray Bullets: Killers, a brand new miniseries from the truly fantastic David Lapham.  And while some of our previous Group Reviews have showed the difference in some of our reviewer’s opinions, it’s safe to say that we were all pretty much in agreement on this one.  Take a look;straybullets_killers1_cover

Ross Says…

For a comic that opens with a panel featuring a boob (just one, and shame on you for wanting a pair!), it’s initially difficult to actual figure out what the frick is going on in this book. Is it about strippers? Teenagers? Teenagers seeing strippers? Boobs just in general? I mean…sweet, though that might be, it’s hardly deep, is it?

Well no, it wouldn’t be, if indeed that’s all it was about. But the boobs and the teenagers? They’re just a framing device, y’see? This is the story of a man who all but cheats on his wife, does something awful in his attempts to get away with it, and pays a high price for it when he doesn’t.

Lapham’s subversive, slow-boiling writing is the key here – slowly and expertly unravelling a twisting tale of a seedy underworld hidden in plain sight, right under the naïve protagonist’s nose.

Well-crafted and well-weighted, this is a pretty exceptional downbeat neo-noir, a book that requires pouring over to fully appreciate. Or in short: welcome back, Mr Lapham!

Rating: 4/5.

Ceej Says…

If you’ve read David Lapham’s critically acclaimed Stray Bullets in the past, then you’re bound to have a pretty good idea of what to expect here. And what we have is yet another beautifully structured, almost impenetrably bleak tale about the darker side of the world we live in.

Told through the perspective of Eli, a fairly regular teenage boy in most ways (trouble with his peers, hates doing chores, obsessed with boobs), the story twists and turns throughout this self-contained tale, providing all manner of seedy characters and memorable moments along the way.

While some writers struggle to tell a compelling tale with a beginning, middle and end over a three or four-issue arc, Lapham continues to show his finely honed storytelling abilities here by managing to achieve it in just 30 pages.  And his precise, crisp black and white artwork adds another level of depth to the overall package, sticking almost religiously to the ‘eight panels to a page’ layout.

Don’t worry if you haven’t read Stray Bullets in the past.  No prior knowledge is needed here in these fantastically engaging ‘one and done’ stories.  Just make sure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to catch the latest offerings from one of the most memorable titles – and truly skilled creators – in recent memory.

Rating: 5/5.

Blair Says…

This stylistic debut issue of the new Stray Bullets book smashes contradicting narratives together to create a single, cohesive, attention grabbing opening story. Jumping between the innocence of adolescence – the discussion of boobs in great detail and swapping crudely drawn pictures of naked woman – to the bleak world of the criminal adult world consisting of strip clubs and murder.

David Lapham’s exciting but slow burning writing brilliantly indicates that this may grow to be one of the most anticipated books on a monthly basis. The black and white artwork supports the story and adds to the noir atmosphere that anything can happen and nothing is quite as it seems.

Weighty, well-written, solid art. A truly bleak story which promises to keep its readership engulfed in a world where they never feel fully comfortable. I have no hesitation in recommending this book be part of this month’s pull list!

Rating: 4/5.

Joe Says…

David Lapham’s celebrated noir series Stray Bullets is back, reloaded and retitled as Stray Bullets Killers. It’s a welcome return.

As is often the case with stories in the Stray Bullets series, this issue features a naive young innocent traumatised and terrified by the pervasive air of sin and criminality that surrounds them. In this case it’s Eli, a young lad from a troubled home with an obsession for boobs that seems to run in his family. His father, you see, is a frequent visitor of the local strip club who seems to lack in self-control. Throw in a guest appearance by Stray Bullets regular Spanish Scott and some murder most foul and you have yet another pitch black noir story from Lapham. Let’s hope he’s kept plenty of spare ammo lying around and it’s not another eight years until the next issue.

Rating: 5/5.

James Says…

This is a nice blend of noir and action from the limited perspective of a young curious child. Eli follows his Dad to a strip club whenever he can. He watches the dancers in secret and draws pictures of breasts for his mates; his only hope of gaining popularity. Things take a turn for the wild when he meets Scottie, the security boss of the strip club, a cool customer as far as any boy his age would believe.

The perspective really works in this books favour. It’s an interesting point of view similar to the brilliant ‘Road to Perdition.’ It’s just a shame his father sells carpets for a living and frequents strip clubs on a regular basis. Poor kid. The black and white art does well to avoid the style associated with noir comics. Instead, it sets a grim tone for what is a nicely bleak story. It’s an impressive first issue for this returning series.

Rating: 4/5.

Shane Says…

What you do in private will be brought into the light. Your sins will find you out. Just a few sentences that could be tag lines for this new installment in the Stray Bullets series. Despite having never read anything from this series before, I found myself instantly immersed in the story telling and the underlying theme to the story. David Lapham has done an amazing job creating this story, in a way that it’s not really just your typical comic book, but instead also has a strong moral behind it. And it’s a meaning I feel that we often times forget. The artwork isn’t highly detailed and it’s all done in black and white but the story is so strong that too much color or highly detailed intense scenes would take away from the well-crafted story. The black and white fits and the level of detail is still enough to tell the story well.

The beginning to this issue had me wondering if this was going to be a comedic, tongue and cheek humor story or if it was going to be a coming of age tale. A group of young boys are discussing Boobs. Boobs are in fact a major topic through the whole story between this group of young boys. One young man sneaks with his dad into a local strip club and watches from under the buffet table. He then tells tales to his friends and shows pictures he has drawn of all the different shapes sizes and styles of boob he has seen. The story takes a turn when the father is offered a dance by a young woman who used to babysit said young man, who is also the sibling of one of his friends.

The underlying theme to this story that I took away with me was that when we think the things we’re doing in secret and aren’t hurting anyone, they actually can. The young man telling tales of what he sees at the strip club entices his friends and then when he tells the group one of their sisters is a stripper there the boy retaliates and turns the rest of the group against him. The father who thinks no one will find out his nightly activities is freaked when his son’s former baby sitter offers him a dance. All these secrets and things done with the false hope that no one will ever know is brought into the open and the consequences are paid, and not always by the person who is involved to begin with. I think this theme is appropriate for all situations today, we must always consider the potential consequences for our actions, and be aware that secrets won’t always stay secret, and sometimes the wrong person will find out.

Rating: 5/5.

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