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Bullet Gal #5

Review by Paul Bowler

Since Mizi’s arrival in Heropa, her personal vendetta against organised crime has made her many enemies. Bullet Gal #5 is the new issue of the IF? Commix book series by Australian author Andrez Bergen, writer of the noir-inspired detective novel Who is Killing the Grat Capes of Heropa? , IF? Commix book series Tales to Admonish, and his new novel Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth and the graphic novel Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat. Now in Bullet Gal #5 we discover the origin of Mizi’s latest adversary, the psychotic French hit-girl Brigit, who also happens to be the girlfriend and personal assassin of the powerful crime boss Sol.

Following the shocking events of last issue, where Bullet Gal was unable to prevent Lee’s death, Mizi was approached by one of Lee’s seven remaining doppelgangers who offered her a mask and a chance to join the Crime Crusaders Crew, Bullet Gal #5 takes a break from the adventures of our series heroine Mizi as the spotlight shifts to the underworlds voluptuous French assassin Brigit. Bullet Gal #5 charts Brigit’s origins from the poverty stricken backstreets of Paris to the gleaming metropolis of Heropa, where the blond bombshell consolidated her reputation at Sol’s side to become one of the most feared and dangerous women in Heropa.

From her impoverished upbringing on the outskirts of Paris, Brigit’s origin in Bullet Gal #5 reveals how her mother killed her father and quickly won over the Gendarme investigating the case, leading to a hastily arranged marriage – the second of many that would follow. Brigit’s school life was a torturous experience for her, fuelling her ruthless nature while her mother went on to marry five more times, each time to wealthy men who all shared remarkably short lifespans. As Brigit reached adulthood her mother’s accumulated wealth became too tantalising for her to resist, murder and faux tears ensued, and soon Brigit was on a clipper plane with a several million francs in her luggage and a new life ready for the taking in a brand new city called Heropa.

Bullet Gal 005_Nov 2014_IF Commix_COVER

Birgit met the love of her life, Sol, in Heropa on the day the crime lord’s driver rear-ended the derriere of her prized Jaguar E type, earning him the wrath of her blade. Sol hired Brigit immediately, soon she’d established her reputation as Heropa’s deadliest assassin, dealing with Sol’s rivals, and ensuring the successful expansion of his business empire. Everything was going so well, until the arrival of “La Competition”, Bullet Gal!

Bullet Gal #5 provides a fascinating insight into Brigit’s character, who has been covertly observing Mizi’s every move for some time now, as she recollects moments from her past while preparing for her impending showdown with Bullet Gal. We learn the events that shaped her life, the darkness that twisted her soul, why she despises any rendition of ‘La Marseillaise’ – and discover how patient and fastidious she’s become at practicing her murderous trade. The story and art by Andrez Bergen effortlessly blends the events in this IF? Commix prequel series with flashbacks to Brigit’s past, offering an entirely new perspective on this bona fide femme fatale and her unpredictable psychotic tendencies as Brigit takes centre stage for this special issue.

Bergen’s striking art, with its noir-inspired visuals, a beautiful fusion of painting, digital enhancement, and enticingly stylised photomontage imagery, weaves a compelling, and dark tapestry from the defining moments of Brigit’s life. Bullet Gal #5 is a near perfect symbiotic fusion of story and art, one filled with a dark, disturbing, and almost sensual depiction of Brigit’s unflinching dedication to the work that she does so well. The scene where Brigit plans her strategy while examining her tried and trusted weapons of choice in the most private of moments, is as unnerving as is enticing, and the context of this scene in reflection of what has gone before sublimely entwines the twisted psyche of Heropa’s most famed assassin in our imagination.

Bullet Gal #5 also features an intriguing back-up story, featuring a bizarre exhumation in the twilight hours at Heropa General Cemetery, then we have a stunning pin-up of Brigit by artist Zamurai, and other fun edition of Dejavu at the Neon Bullpen. With its razor sharp characterisation, imaginatively conceived noir inspired world, and nods to Will Eisner and Brigitte Bardot, this issue of Bullet Gal is a gloriously dark and innovative addition to this excellent series.

Bullet Gal #5, is published in print form in October 2014 in Australia, along with the digital version, and available direct from the IF? Commix website.