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Bullet Gal #3

Review by Paul Bowler

Bullet Gal #3 is the new issue from the Australian author Andrez Bergen, the writer of the noir inspired superhero detective novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? , the IF? Commix book series Tales to Admonish, and the stylish anthology Black White. Now, following the release of his new novel, Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth, along with Tales To Admonish #4, and the graphic novel Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, the latest issue of Japan based writer Andrez Bergen’s IF? Commix book series, Bullet Gal #3, will be published in print form in September 2014 in Australia.

Bullet Gal is a character from Andrez Bergen’s earlier works. This new ongoing series is a prequel that follows the adventures of the young woman, Mizi, a gun-toting teen with a taste for destruction and strong espresso. Her personal crusade against crime has brought her to Heropa, where Mizi began targeting criminals and citizens with connections to the criminal underworld.

After encountering the mysterious Lee, a cape (Super-Powered type), Mizi accepted his offer to begin training so she could join The Crime Crusaders Crew. However, her volatile and unpredictable nature soon brought her into conflict with her new mentor. Mizi’s attacks on the crime rackets in town have also caught the attention of the vicious gang leader Sol and the seductive French femme fatale Brigit, Sol’s lover and personal assassin, who is eager to confront the meddling Bullet Gal and make her pay for what she’s done.

Bullet Gal 3 cover art_IF COMMIX_Oct 2014

Bullet Gal #3 follows Mizi as she resolves to find some answers about the people she is working for. Her journey across the vast city of Heropa leads her to a rooftop, where, overlooking a dark alley, she observes a secret meeting between eight men, who all incidentally look exactly like Lee, the man who offered to train her for The Crime Crusaders Crew. Feeling shocked and betrayed Mizi sets out to find some answers, unaware gang boss Sol and his deadly assassin Brigit are watching, assessing her skills and abilities. As Mizi returns to the apartment, she is confronted by Lee, but as the truth begins to unfold a new threat prepares to strike.

Rebound is another dark and intriguing issue of Bullet Gal from Andrez Bergen. We get to learn even more about Mizi’s past over the course of this issue as she wanders the streets of Heropa after discovering Lee’s secret, her pain and regret over his apparent betrayal is almost palpable, as is the all pervading sense of paranoia that threatens to consume her.

The scenes were Sal and his French assassin, Brigit, are observing Mizi from the rooftops also enhances the brooding air of tension, and it’s interesting to see how much influence the assassin has over her crime boss lover. Brigit is a really compelling character, seductive and deadly, she effortlessly wraps Sal around her little finger while also reigning in the over zealous henchman Bronco, alluringly honing her lethal art as she plots Mizi’s downfall.

However, one of the most intriguing aspects of Bullet Gal #3 is our insight into Lee’s character, well, one of them anyway. In a brilliantly structured sequence almost as many questions are answered as they have been raised, and the unique strengths and abilities of the “capes” of Heropa become more clearly defined. The ambiguity surrounding which doppelganger Mizi is actually dealing with is another subtle twist, and one that perfectly suits the distinct noir tone. Furthermore, is this version of Lee really the man she first met, and who, if any of them, can really be trusted?

The story and art by Andrez Bergen for Bullet Gal #3 seamlessly splices the series distinct noir style and tone, creating a dark web of intrigue and suspense that encapsulates the reader with its striking visuals and rich narrative. Bergen’s art resonates sublimely with the key aspects from Mizi’s past: from her father’s lucky number in the lens of the binoculars, the raw emotion of betrayal is sprayed like graffiti across her soul, polarizing the past upon the twilight glair of Heropa, as the dark shadows gathering against her in this metropolis prepare to strike. I particularly like how Bergen has infused Bullet Gal’s origin story with the dark hardboiled pulp narrative and style of his other novels and comic books, making it possible to enjoy this prequel series either as a stand alone story, irrespective of any knowledge about the series or characters, prior or otherwise, or as one that also enriches the noir inspired world already crafted in Bergen’s earlier works.

Bullet Gal #3 is another terrific issue in Andrez Bergen’s IF? Commix book series. The stylish noir style of Bergen’s storyline and art effortlessly imbues every level of the narrative with his sweeping vision, drawing you further into the dark world of Heropa and its intriguing characters. This new series continues to go from strength to strength, with its gritty adventure and excellent artwork, Bullet Gal #3 is Bergen’s most assured issue so far.

Bullet Gal #3, is published in print form in September 2014 in Australia, along with the digital version, and available direct from the IF? Commix website.