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Trista & Holt #15

Review by Paul Bowler

Heartache, despair, and sweet revenge await in Trista and Holt #15, following Trista’s shocking treatment at Black Sails sanatorium. But is their tragic love affair really over? Issy must now struggle back from the brink of despair, fending off suicidal thoughts and his inner demons, to return to Black Sails and save Trista. In this powerful and moving series finale, Trista and Holt seek to escape from their warring families forever, but can their love ever truly survive now after everything that‘s be done to tear their lives apart..?

Trista and Holt #15 brings Andrez Bergen’s (writer / artist of Tales to Admonish, Bullet Gal, and author of Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?) IF? Commix crime-riddled, pulp-noir, dada influenced take on the medieval story of Tristan and Iseult spruced up with modern digital sensibilities, hardboiled violence, passion, and disco, to a sensational conclusion. Following the success of his Bullet Gal series, Magpie, and with the Black Sails, Disco Inferno novelisation just released (which also retells the classic romance of Trista and Iseult in a 70’s style pulp/noir world), Andrez Bergen’s innovative storytelling and distinct artistic style ensures Trista and Holt #15 rounds off his latest IF? Commix series in fine style.

Right from the outset, Trista and Holt #15: In The End, plunges us deep into the shadowy, nightmarish abyss of Issy’s suicidal despair as we flashback six days to find him broken hearted, despondent, and resigned to ending his own life. Having discovered the truth about his father and Tristas aunt Marcella, and after learning what happened to Trista at Black Sails sanatorium, Issy has spiralled into a twisted game of Russian Roulette in which his own emotional ruin will seemingly provides the ammunition Issy needs to end his pain.

Trista + Holt_15_COVER ART_IF COMMIX

Andrez Bergen sends us on a roller coaster ride of emotions as the narrative unfolds, with Izzy facing his darkest hours, before finally emerging from his frenzied stupor without a bullet in his brain and the epiphany that will ultimately drive him – quite literally – in his dad’s cherished Jaguar D-Type to reach Black Sails and rescue Trista from the fate engineered by those whose machinations have conspired to destroy them. The dark opening themes gradually melt away during the heartrending reunion in the gardens of Black Sails, it’s a beautiful yet tragic moment for our erstwhile lovers, punctuated with dreams, recollections and melancholy as birds circle in the overcast sky above, Trista and Holt will make one last ditch bid for freedom that’s every bit as ingeniously bitter-sweet as it is barbed with revenge for those that have wronged them.

Andrez Bergen’s art for Trista and Holt #15 is arguably some his finest work ever: from the stark despair of Issy’s dalliance with suicidal thoughts, through to the windswept journey to Black Sails relayed via a collage of striking imagery and surreal montages, the digital cut-ups and collages of dreams and fantasy splice seamlessly with the emotional resonance of Trista and Holt’s reunion, and the bold white infused splash pages that sear away the shadows provide a vivid contrast with the intoxicatingly sombre, yet exquisitely upbeat and sensual tone of this impressive double-sized issue as the series concludes in the most unexpected way imaginable.

This series finale certainly delivers on every level and rewards long-term readers in the most sublime way. Trista’s haunting dream is a visual tour de force of storytelling and art from Andrez Bergen, the characterization is beautifully handled in this issue, and you will almost feel like you have been drawn into every scene as this mesmerising saga approaches its end. As a cry of rage rings out in the bowels of Tintagel, the build up towards Trista and Holt’s final scenes are simply stunning, and accentuated with the merest splash of color to mark the occasion and make that parting moment all the more poignant. Trista and Holt has been one of Andrez Bergen’s most outstanding IF? Comic series’ so far, this final issue is superb, and Trista and Holt #15 is guaranteed to make you cry, smile, and take your breath away all at the same time…

Publisher: IF? Commix / Writer: Andrez Bergen / Art: Andrez Bergen

Trista & Holt #15 is available 1st Jube 2016 / Hard Copy $5 & Digital $1



If you enjoyed Trista and Holt, then be sure to check out Andrez Bergen’s brand new Black Sails, Disco Inferno novelisation (with Renee Asher Pickup) based on his Trista and Holt  IF? Commix series. The paperback is available now via Amazon USA and Amazon UK and Amazon Canada, while the eBook can be picked up at Amazon USA, Amazon Australia, Amazon France, and Amazon Japan.