Stray Bullets: Killers #8
Publisher – Image Comics
Writer & Artist – David Lapham
Editor – Maria Lapham
Young love is always a strange cocktail between euphoria and tragedy. For a lot of us those first experiences of romance are some of the greatest lessons we receive about ourselves, and about being with others. However, that first love usually ends up being matched with the first break-up; a moment which teaches us so much about how to live. In Ginny & Eli’s case, that first break-up seems to be on the horizon, following the traumatic events of the last issue. This issue serves as the final part of their tale, and of the Stray Bullets: Killers series. A love born in passion and spoiled by history.
Lapham puts on his heaviest boots to give the life of Ginny the kicking he loves to give her. He focuses a big part of the story on Eli in this final issue. Eli has been the more interesting of the two in this series. Ginny will always have the history from the Stray Bullets series to have her own weight and heart to her, but Eli’s innocence in this world of blood & bullets has easily been more sympathetic. We witness this but take the transition to adulthood through his much more experienced girlfriend, and in this issue we see Eli make what might just be the most adult decision of his life. We also see Eli’s duck cousin Adam return. One thing Lapham ain’t losing his touch for is writing assholes. Absolutely nothing about Adam is endearing or likeable, making the coming redemption completely fitting. Which is why it irks me that we don’t get it. This was totally the character which deserves to have his teeth smashed in, and he seems to make it to the end of the series without breaking a sweat. It would be nice if someone other than Ginny got totally screwed over for once.
Any comments I can make out the art will be parroted in my previous reviews. Lapham still controls the action well when business picks up, and threads a conversation with the kind of action-cuts more suited to a Tarantino movie. Something I’ve avoided in my previous reviews is being too harsh on the design, given the indie-feel of the comic. It’s always been forgiven that the character designs are a little sloppy in places as it gives the art personality, and that a black & white art style has that downfall of being slightly harder to interoperate the image on screen when we need to accommodate for colour. On one hand these imperfections add to the grime of the story; a drab style for drab lives. However, on the other, I honestly can’t look at the art on display in these issues and call them the best of their field. However, I will say that the art suits the world perfectly, which is exactly what gives a graphic novel life.
I must confess that I did not do my homework on this issue before picking it up. I had no idea that this was the finale of the Stray Bullets: Killers series. Without wishing to spoil, the ending is both enjoyable and the most logical curtain call. To a new fan it caps the romantic tale grown in shadows of the Killers series, and to a returning fan it comes off as a larger story to slot into the ongoing life of Ginny. I do hope both Ginny and Eli get a look in on the next series in the Stray Bullets saga due out in the new year.
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