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Trista and Holt #8

Review by Paul Bowler

The latest offering from IF? Commix takes us into the crime-ridden world Trista and Holt #8, with words and pictures from Andrez Bergen, author of the noir-superhero detective novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa, and the IF? Commix Bullet Gal prequel series and recent Bullet Gal trade paperback collection: Its Not You Its Me. Trista and Holt #8 continues Andrez Bergen’s modern homage to the old-school legend of Tristan and Iseult, in this charismatic, hardboiled, and iconic noir-infused new If? Commix series.

In this issue we take a step back from the frenetic pace of recent events for a somewhat more measured, emotionally charged, and decidedly sombre instalment of the series’ erstwhile lovers whose lives have become so tragically entwined. Following the death of Moore Holt, caused by Trista Rivalen, Trista is also injured, and she is currently recovering in a hidden location from the feuding families with the help of Issy Holt – heir apparent to the Holt family.

TRISTA + HOLT_issue 8_COVER ART_IF

As emotions run high, Isidor Holt faces the grim task of identifying Moore Holt’s body at the morgue. From here the spotlight falls on Issy’s father, Isidor – head of the Holt Clan, as flashbacks peel away hidden secrets from the past. We discover the true side to his origin, the sinister overtones and rise to power, marriage to Alania, the reasons Isidor wept for Lou Holden, and some unexpected links to Trista’s aunt Marcella.

Andrez Bergen brings the same pulp-noir tone of images and art to Trista and Holt as he did with Bullet Gal. This seamless blend of digital enhancement, photographic imagery, and dada-inspired collages make the dark, brooding world of Trista and Holt even more compelling. From the morose opening scenes that bring us to the morgue, the art quickly strikes a rich cord with the storyline, offering a tangent that brings the woman with an outrageous French accent and the forlorn sight of a gangland leader now crippled and forgotten in a darkened room. Flashbacks bring us ever further towards a life as it unravels like the shuffling of a deck of cards, where a real name is revealed for the first time in thirty years, while the horror and persecution in a Nazi concentration camp resonates darkly across the shadowy veil of time, before freedom spells hope and the promise of dreams waiting in a brave new world – dreams that will ultimately become crushed beneath the cold heel of fate.

If you loved Bullet Gal, chances are you will enjoy Trista and Holt as well. Although this issue is perhaps not wholly indicative of the series overall, Trista and Holt #8 is notably slower in pace than previous issues, even the tone is markedly darker, but its testament to Bergen’s skilful fusion of detailed plot and characterization that uses this issues markedly different approach to great effect. While there’s a lot going on here, this issue actually makes a really good jumping-on point for new readers, and it also rewards those who have been reading since the beginning with some fresh insights to the ongoing storyline and characters.

Trista and Holt #8 is another impressive issue, Andrez Bergen’s storytelling and art continues to impress on every level, and this series remains one of IF? Commix standout new titles. This innovative pulp-noir of yesteryear mash-up with crime the laced saga of Tristan and Iseult, blends noir, brutality, and disco with stylish aplomb. Few comics immerse you within its story and art like Trista and Holt, even if you are a little late the party, this is one issue that will certainly make you want to explore the dark and groovy world of Trista and Holt.

Trista & Holt is available now /  hard coy $5 digital $1

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Publisher: IF Commix

Writer: Andrez Bergen

Artist: Andrez Bergen