Publisher: Image Comics
Writer/Artist: David Lapham
Release Date: 4th February, 2015
When Beth first met the gaze of Kretchmeyer across a crowded room, he appeared to be a perfectly normal guy; however, their seemingly capricious meeting was not as random as it had first appeared. With the criminal underworld in a state of flux, Kretchmeyer spies an opportunity to make his mark, and Beth could be the key to his success.
Although we are introduced to quite a large cast of characters over the course of this issue, as a new reader, it never once felt overwhelming. The scale of the world David Lapham has constructed only became fully apparent upon finishing the issue; a testament to the absorbing, compelling nature of the narrative, and Lapham’s skill in fixing the reader’s attention in the moment. The story is peppered with raw, edgy dialogue, and moments of shocking violence, and Lapham has deftly captured the gritty realism of films from the 1970s, (particularly the work of Friedkin and Scorsese), where action takes place in close quarters, bringing with it an unnerving intimacy.
The monochrome artwork, whilst perhaps not of the highest quality from a technical standpoint, does provide each character with a distinct personality, and is certainly impressive from a storytelling perspective. Every element of each panel is relevant, and it’s another shining example of how properly convey a story through layout and framing. However, I do feel that the lack of colour (and at times shading), did detract from the impact of certain scenes.
Sunshine and Roses was my first foray into the world of Stray Bullets, and it offered a thoroughly engaging snapshot of the world that Lapham has cultivated over the course of the last 20 years. Unfortunately, it looks like I now have plenty of reading ahead of me to get fully up to speed.