Review - Gunning for Hits #1 (@ImageComics)

"You know what I mean--record company weasel. That's what they call you guys right?"

The record industry is a completely different entity now than it was in the past. With the internet democratizing music creation and distribution labels don't have the same level of control over artists that they used to. Still, there was a time when that wasn't always the case and in Gunning for Hits #1 from Image Comics, that time makes for some fun storytelling. The issue is written by Jeff Rougvie, illustrated by Moritat and colored/lettered by Casey Silver.

Set in the shady New York City music scene of the mid-80s, Gunning for Hits stars Martin Mills, a record company talent scout with an inscrutable past. Follow Martin as he attempts to sign a rock band that’ll conquer the world in this music business crime thriller.

Having been in the business, Rougvie brings a certain level of reality to his script that immediately makes it feel tighter. Rougvie frames the entire issue around a single point in negotiations with an up and coming band that feels fast-paced and sufficiently tense in how it builds to the climactic conclusion. And the dialogue is rapid-fire from all players--Martin the agent is no stranger to the proceedings while Billy and Diane (Billy's girlfriend/agent) knows enough to be dangerous. It's this back and forth that Rougvie has likely been part of countless times that propels the issue, giving it a sense of authenticity and realness. Rougvie also throws in some context for some of the requests being thrown his way, offering readers a look at the industry as a whole in terms of how deals were typically made.

Relying on Moritat for the artwork was a very sound decision. Moritat's pencils are very clean, presenting an edginess to the characters befitting of the almost punk rock mantra of Billy and his band. The characters show very intense facial expressions throughout that really underscore the hyperbolic nature of the negotiations, primarily through Billy and Diane showing their naivety when it comes to negotiating a deal like this. The blackened gutters also provides even more atmosphere, reinforcing an almost shady, back-room deal being struck amongst the players. Silver's colors take this a step further in that they're heavily black and brown.

Gunning for Hits #1 is a strong, solid first issue with plenty of intrigue and fascinating turn towards the end. Martin is no stranger to getting his way and dealing with young upstarts who think they're the same. Rougvie draws on his own experiences to infuse the book with a plausibility that makes it work that much better. Moritat's artwork is edgy and fun in giving the book a sense of visual recklessness. Gunning for Hits #1 should definitely be checked out.

Gunning for Hits #1 is available now.