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Bullet Gal #12

Review by Paul Bowler

The Reset has been initiated… Bullet Gal #12 brings this 12 issue IF? Commix prequel story arc to a sensational climax as Mitzi, our gun-toting heroine with a taste for wanton destruction and strong espresso, prepares to face Heropa’s newly augmented digital reality alongside her mentor Lee following the Reset. A new era begins with the debut of new super team the Equalizers, but dark forces are already scheming against them. Mitzi still has some old scores to settle, but some will prove far from easy to resolve. Now, with Lee by her side, and her new role with the Equalizers, Heropa’s bright new future awaits…

After the recent release of the Bullet Gal trade paperback collection: It’s Not You It’s Me, this final issue of the 12 part arc with story and pictures from Andrez Bergen, author of the noir-style superhero detective novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa, IF? Commix series Tales to Admonish, graphic novel Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, and the novel Depth Charging Planet Goth, wraps Bullet Gal’s prequel story up as the full ramifications of the Reset that Lee #3 (That’s our Bullet Gal’s own Lee, one of the eight identical duplicates spliced from the personality of the man who created Heropa, and he’s also Major Patriot!) has engineered to create an entirely new world for him and Mitzi while vanquishing their enemies in the process.

Bullet Gal #12 possesses an air of nervous anticipation coupled with a somewhat upbeat finality, while loose ends are gathered; characters prepare to step into a new order where the noir-shrouded streets offer untold potential for the future. As this issue of Andrez Bergen’s IF? Commix prequel series brings Mitzi’s early adventures in Heropa to a close; we experience the Reset from a dazzling variety of viewpoints and timeframes. Game changing rules are quickly established as the digital framework of Heropa embraces the embryonic code of the Reset to become a new reality. Lee’s grand design rings in the changes on a vast scale, one entwined within a loop of logic and fate that coalesces the narrative and pizzazz of the imminent press conference at Timely Tower to introduce the new order that will set the foundations of a silver age for tomorrow.

Bullet Gal #12 Cover

Having survived her recent brush with death, it is perhaps no surprise then that the Reset heralds some fairly significant changes in Mitzi’s life. Even though Bullet Gal now faces the end of all she knows and the beginning of everything she will become, Lee is there with her every step of the way, and the chemistry between them is electric. As for Brigit, the crazed French hit woman who organized the attempt on Bullet Gal’s life, well, it would seem the Reset has wrought the most ruthless and fitting revenge imaginable for our heroines arch nemesis. Mitzi may feel naked without her trademark guns, but her new role and identity as Aerialist more than compensates for any misgivings she has. Indeed, her characters new stance here makes us fall in love with her all over again, her new identity fits her like a glove, and the jetpack is an added bonus!

The distinctive look and tone of Bullet Gal is undoubtedly one of the series’ biggest factors in making it stand out from the crowd. Andrez Bergen has fashioned a striking and bold aesthetic in terms of comic book art with Bullet Gal, with a mix of vivid black and white imagery, digital photomontages, and the sublime fusion of pulp noir themes, Dadaist influences, and throwbacks to the rich history of the comic books of yesteryear, every issue has been stylishly realized. Bullet Gal #12 is the very embodiment of Bergen’s vision: whereby the sprawling code of the Reset gives way to the rain swept streets of Heropa, behind-the-scenes a new team is forged from the ashes of the old, clandestine meetings unfold, we even join an old enemy for tea, a spectacular new tower now graces Heropa’s skyline, Little Nobody also gets to join in the party mood, and villains begin plotting to scratch the sheen from this brave new world. Add in the tantalizing hints of color emerging throughout the pages of this issue, and Bullet Gal #12 rounds the series off in fine style.

With a press conference to introduce The Equalizers to the world, the stage is set, quite literally and figuratively, for the Great White Hope, Milkcrate Man, and the Aerialist to step into the limelight. So, even though it looks like Mitzi has now set aside her late fathers twin polished nickel 9mm Star Model B pistols for good, its clear Mitzi’s bond with Lee is stronger than ever, and with its breathtaking final page delivering a symbolic fresh start all that remains is for us to heed the words of “Sir Omphalos” and enjoy the view as a new era dawns…

Bergen’s phenomenal Bullet Gal prequel series concludes magnificently with Bullet Gal #12. Taken as a whole, the series has been an unqualified success. This hardboiled pulp-style adventure, with its nor-spliced digitally enhanced reality and plethora of subliminal subtexts, has been an exciting and extraordinary journey. The end is near, but the Reset has given Mitzi and Lee a second throw of the dice, and the future is now sublimely entwined in the pages of Bergen’s novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? Bullet Gal’s adventures may be over for now, but there’s still plenty to look forward to. With Bergen’s new IF? Commix 70’s style crime-saga homage Trista and Holt Vol 1 (collecting issue 1-6) and a trade paper back collection of Tales To Admonish both due for release in August 2015, with issue #7 of Trista and Holt following in September 2015, and a new novel in the works, Andrez Bergen’s distinct artistic style and storytelling will continue to bring us even more exciting characters and adventures. The future is looking very bright indeed!

Bullet Gal #12 Is Published 1st August 2015 Hard Copy $5 Digital $1 IF? Commix