Publisher: Titan Comics (Hard Case Crime imprint)
Writer: Charles Ardai
Artist: Ang Hor Kheng
Colourist: Asifur Rahman
Letterer: David Leach
Release Date: 29th September 2021
The latest addition to Titan’s impressive Hard Case Crime imprint, Gun Honey introduces us to weapons smuggler Joanna Tan. Tan is your classic femme fatale; stunningly beautiful, confident and capable, and the opening to this issue showcases her heady blend of smarts, expertise and sexuality as she effortlessly smuggles a gun onto a high security yacht before disappearing without a trace.
Unfortunately, when you’re the best in the world at what you do, your actions often have wide-reaching consequences. And while Tan never pulls the trigger herself, one of her previous jobs may have inadvertently sparked an extremely volatile situation that she couldn’t have possibly predicted.
Series writer Charles Adrai delivers some familiar tropes here, but does so with an impressively straight-faced affection for pulp fiction in all its forms. Tan is an engaging enough protagonist, and while the plot itself is fairly familiar, there are some nice creative flourishes – such as the aforementioned bikini-assisted weapon smuggling – in the execution that keep things feeling relatively fresh.
On the visual side of things, Ang Hor Kheng and Asiruf Rahman do a solid job with the artwork throughout the course of this first issue, delivering a scratchy, realistic style that keeps the story grounded. The scenes with Tan showcasing her impressive set of skills – particularly the one which comes in the final pages of the issue – are suitably cinematic, and you can almost hear the pumping action movie soundtrack as she does her thing.
This is an entertaining enough opening issue, and one that does a good job of introducing us to the titular character, showcasing her abilities and giving us a little insight into her formative years. The action sequences are slick and cinematic, and the whole thing whips along at a fairly brisk pace throughout. However, for me, it feels like there’s something missing. That extra hook to draw the casual reader in and make sure they stick around to pick up the subsequent issues.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely going to be sticking around to see what the slightly puzzling cliffhanger means for Tan and her story, but I would completely understand if other readers found themselves drifting away in search of series with a bit more urgency and bite.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]