Also this week, amid huge release schedules from the "Big Two" that include Forever Evil, Battle of the Atom and tons of Villains Month books from DC, BOOM! once again quietly releases yet another stunner with Hit.
BOOM! Studios managing editor Bryce Carlson pens this noir police tale set in early 1950s Los Angeles, replete with all of the noir conventions that one might expect. The requisite 'blond bombshell' is accounted for, and you already know you can't trust her (convention tells us in this particular subculture of fictional mediums that the blonde 'damsel in distress' will always burn our hero in the end), the gritty street detective is accounted for and the tumultuous gangster-laden city is also represented.
What is often so difficult to do in a niche genre such as noir is to stand apart from the history that precedes you. Particularly with noir pieces, the genre really only saw heavy levels of production in film from the 1940s through the very early 1950s in Hollywood, and has seen only a smattering of films that fall into the category since that era. Even across other mediums, noir isn't exactly heavily represented, it's around, but not abundant unless you are an eager fan and do your digging frequently.
What Carlson has done here is to take the best and most well known elements of classic noir, and repackage them into the comic book medium sans sensational elements that would tend to water the source material down (see Ed Brubaker's excellent Fatalé for reference). While I love Brubaker's noir leanings, they tend to be genre mashups of superhero books, or in Fatalé's case, classic horror tales. While there's nothing wrong with that, this is more of a pure noir experience for fans of old pulp novels like The Thin Man, films like 'The Big Hit', 'The Maltese Falcon', 'Double Indemnity' etc, and comic books like Frank Miller's Sin City, or even Gotham Noir or Gotham Central in the Batman universe.
Also of note, this title is built around the stories of LAPD 'hit squads' of the 1950s that were sanctioned by the police department for clandestine hits on mobsters and other various gang elements that were moving out west from the east coast in an attempt to find new channels to run their various illegal activities. Sound familiar? It should, remember the move Gangster Squad that came out last year? It was about the same thing.
So essentially what Carlson and artist Vanessa R. Del Rey have done here is to take well-trodden material and successfully craft an enjoyable and riveting comic book. You don't always have to have a brand new idea to have a successful piece of fiction, as long as you can tell your story well, and Hit does that to a tee.
I very much need a book like this in my monthly line-up, and I'm happy to have found this little gem amongst all of the DC allocation hoopla and cacophony this week.
Oh, and check out that Ryan Sook cover, is that great or what?!!
This is a four issue mini series so it's a low dollar investment, give it a shot, I think you'll be happy you did.