Publisher: IF? Commix
Writer: Renee Pickup, Andrez Bergen
Artist: Andrez Bergen
The latest installment in IF? Commix’s new series Trista & Holt is a double issue that takes a step back from the seedy criminal underworld torn apart by the Cornwall/Holt feud and instead focuses on Trista’s past and how she became the hardened killer she is today. For this excursion down memory lane original creator Andrez Bergen hands the reigns to American writer Renee Pickup, but still contributes with his own quirky brand of mix and matched artwork. Even with Pickup holding the pen this crime noir story inspired by the classic tale of Tristan and Iseult remains a slick, stylish, and visually engaging series.
As the feud between the Cornwall and Holt crime families mounts, the lives of young playboy Isidur Holt and Trista Rivalen, advisor to the Cornwall matriarch, become forever entwined. In the aftermath of Moore Holt’s death at the hands of Trista and her subsequent rescue by Isidur, she now lies dying of a fatal knife wound in her enemy’s house. In her death throes Trista recalls the short and violent life that brought her to this fate. From her troubled childhood under the watchful eye of her step-father, to her training with her protector Governal, to her first ever meeting with Marcella “Queenie” Cornwall. It’s a really interesting journey from innocent child to cold blooded killer with Pickup’s narrative style emulating that of Bergen peering behind Trista’s tough exterior to provide some great insight into the character.
Perhaps the biggest revelation from this issue is the depth of her relationship with Governal. Up until this point Governal has been on the sidelines of the feud and seemed to be a fairly minor character, but is now being shown in an entirely different light. After Trista’s mother shacks up with Duboise Rohault, Governal takes it upon himself to raise the young girl and teach her how to survive among two-faced criminals. It’s very reminiscent of Leon: The Professional as the ageing hitman teaches her the tricks of the trade from playing cards, to reading facial expressions, to blowing a hole in a man’s head (a skill that comes in very handy for Trista in later life). It’s very cool and hints that this relationship may become far more important in the main story.
Overall, it’s a great issue that gives a double helping of the grimy black and white underworld of Trista & Holt and delves far deeper into the history and relationships of the characters that inhabit it. Trista & Holt currently stands as a truly great series and I hope it continues to do so.