Review - Smart Bullets #1

I stumbled upon Independent (Hightower) Comics via Twitter. Apparently, Twitter is quickly taking over the world it would seem but hey, you have to look out for awesomeness everywhere. One of their books is called Smart Bullets, and editor Daryl Auclair was kind enough to send along a review copy of the first issue. I gave it a read through and I have to's pretty freaking gritty. Before I get into the review, let me start with the backstory. A scientist has become the harbinger of a new arms-race after the 20th century technology boom. Someone with this sort of weaponized intelligence would of course be the target of ne'er-do-wells, and it's up to three unlikely allies to band together and equalize those that attempt to upset the balance of power. The book is written by John C. Narcomey, Jr. and Justin Fox, with illustrations by Jacob Grippen (Neil Tolman gets the production shout-out). Now that we've got all that out of the way, onto the review. The issue opens up with the female scientist in question being accompanied by a lone gunman. Their seemingly peaceful drive down I-40 in New Mexico is interrupted by a gang of motorcyclists attempting to get the scientist. Of course the lone gunman has a great defense in his gunmanship. The next act (if you will) takes the reader to FBI HQ, where we're intimately introduced to a shapely female agent. Her shower is interrupted by a female ninja which leads to a cat fight in the locker room (doesn't this happen in all female locker rooms in gyms?). After an all-out brawl, the FBI agent attempts so solicit the name of the person who sent the ninja, but she kills herself before she answers. The final act in the issue takes us to San Francisco, where the legendary thief Johnny Rose is eager to celebrate his birthday with a young female companion. That is, until they're interrupted by a gang of baddies that abscond with said female companion, leaving him a bloodied mess on the floor with an FBI file at his side. This book is really unique in that it's light on the text and heavy on the illustrations. Which isn't a bad thing. The illustrations really carry the story along well, and even the full-page panels add a certain break to the action that is refreshing. And the book is in black & white, which lends even more to the gritty tone. None of the characters are named (with the exception of Johnny Rose), which leaves the reader guessing who's important and who's not. The story definitely isn't for the faint of heart, as there's a healthy dose of bullets, explosions, pummelings and random acts of violence. I'm sure that the next issue will shed some light onto the other characters (for example the showering FBI agent) as well as the cowboy gunman accompanying the scientist. We'll also most likely find out what it is exactly that the scientist created that has everyone in a tizzy. But for at least this first issue, all you can do is sit back and strap yourself in for some violent shenanigans. Oh, and no doubt Johnny Rose is going to be pissed that someone stole his girlfriend from him. You can order the book below and even check out a small preview of the first issue at the link below. Smart Bullets #1