Hired Gun

Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2005
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Hired Gun Writer(s): Justin Jude Carmona
Artist(s): Sirac and Chris Morrill
Publishers: Project IV (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $3(US)

Stick is a hitman who has woman trouble. The trouble being she was going out with Sticks best friend at the time they slept together. As far as Stick is concerned it's over. His current job looks like it will set him up for life. All he has to do is recover a missing girl and return her to her father. At least, that what his best friend told him when he gave Stick the job....

This is simple story, but one told efficiently. None of the characters are saints. They live by their own rules, some try to be moral, some don't give a damn, but they all know that you have to live or die dealing with the consequences of your own actions. Justin keeps the dialogue to a minimum, with a voice over that has the laconic dial turned all the way up. The characters are disposable, but so are some rocket launchers.

Sirac and Chris illustrate the story in a clean, crisp mode which depicts the events well, offering several quite stunning pages. Other visual treats are on offer. The women in this book are all foxy ladies, Sirac's layouts are consistently well thought out, and the detail in many of the panels is eye-catching. The is some room for improvement: A mix of thin inking and a strange quirk of not inking in the full outline of noses means the facials construction of the majority of characters is bland.

A shoot out in hotel with the fire sprinklers one is a tour de force of design. The falling water unifies the page while chaos ensues in a intense contrast of light and dark. I keep going back to those pages, wondering if it would be ethical to ask the creators if they'll sell me the original art.

Any fan of comic-noir (that doesn't quite make sense, but say film noir is even worse) really must rack this book down. It's an effective a piece of crime fiction as you'll find in any medium, and the compact nature of the plot means there's no slack. The final turn of events might be predictable, but it also manages to be touching.

In a Word: Hit.

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