Review - Hit List #1

"Now all you need to do is stay far away from Brown House and we'll get along just fine."

Organized crime has a way of working its way around the legal system. Bribes, kickbacks and murders are all tools employed in order to keep the law out of their daily routines. Unfortunately for them, they can't really do much for secret organizations hellbent on killing them, as is the case in Hit List #1 from Zenescope Entertainment.

The issue is written by Ralph Tedesco, with art by Sami Kivela, colors by Bryan Valenza and letters by Jim Campbell.

As a member of the Brown House Bishops, one is entitled to many perks as the criminal organization maintains a stranglehold on a leadership position in the criminal underworld. One of those perks certainly isn't dying, but it seems members of the group have a bad habit of doing just that. A group of assassins is working their way through the organization, taking them out one by one for reasons yet unknown. What is known is that they're brutally efficient at their jobs.

Tedesco's work on the writing side of things is methodically paced and deliberate. While the overarching motivation as to why the Bishops are being killed remains to be seen (other than just that they're bad people), it's expected that Tedesco will explore this before the mini-series ends. Characters are presented as believable and part of a cogent organization that prides itself on their efficiency. There's some money behind the organization as well, which means that the group has what's necessary to be well-trained killing machines. And boy, do they have no qualms about killing.

Kivela's art is rather simple, but very effective. He doesn't bog the pages down with an overabundance of detail, in either the characters or the settings. As mentioned earlier there's a lot of killing and some of the scenes are quite graphic. Kivela doesn't let the blood completely overtake the pages where they're present though. Yes, it's visible and stands out, but it doesn't overwhelm the reader with gore. All of the members of the group are really, really, really good looking, which does sort of detracts from the believability of such a clandestine organization.

Hit List #1 is something not entirely in Zenescope's wheelhouse. Having said that, the issue is kicking off what is clearly an ambitious endeavor by the publisher. It's a strong first issue, giving proper introductions to the characters and the world they live in. What it doesn't do is tell the reader where the animosity towards the Bishops come from, but that just means you'll have to keep reading to find out. You won't find Sela or any of the other Grimm Fairy Tales here and that just reasserts the book's grounding in reality and grittiness.

Hit List #1 is available in stores now with interiors below.