by Bryce Carlson & Vanesa R. Del Ray
There are many pulp and noir books to pick from on the racks, which sometimes makes it hard to stand out. People can throw in a supernatural twist but in the case of Hit! all you have to do is tell a really good story. Hit! was such a refreshing read where it went for a very real-world tale about a cop named Slater who goes secretly outside the law to take down some bad guys who know how to skirt around the law.
Starting off with Slater as a flawed character who takes the law into his own hands was an interesting angle you get right off the bat. He is supposedly doing most of this in secret with the help of a small group of friends, but seems like everyone has a pretty good idea of the kind of man Slater really is. This series, being only four issues long, came blazing out of the gate and got right into the thick of Slater’s life and this horrible predicament that just falls on him out of the blue. Slater is one of those characters that you never really know if you are supposed to like him or not. He is that badass ladies’ man who plays by his own rules, so you don’t really relate or bond to him immediately; it’s more like you’re intrigued by him. All of the characters introduced this issue are quite well fleshed out in an efficient manner that doesn’t slow down the pacing of the story. Sticky, Slater’s partner, was my favorite character so far. He sticks by his friend and always has a verbal jab ready to go.
Del Ray’s art really grew on me after a couple reads. It really embraces that pulp style and that just really helps the overall feel of this book; it takes you back to that time just by looking from panel to panel. There are some pretty gruesome crime scenes too, one particular scene of a couple bodies stuffed with reefer was pretty brutal. There is this slight darkness to everything in Hit! which suits this dark story. Even when on Sunset Boulevard in the middle of the day, you still get the feeling of darkness looming. It just reminds you of how dirty the cops in L.A. were during this time and how similar it was to the wild west. The art really sets the mood and captures the time period perfectly and only heightens the feel of this comic.
Sometimes you just need a meat-and-potatoes detective pulp story to just immerse yourself into, and Hit! is perfect for that. Everything including the faux newspaper articles in the front and classic looking ads in back of the book are fun to read and give you more of that 50’s vibe. When it comes down to it I honestly don’t know what else anyone could ask of a noir detective mystery. After this issue the table is set for a wild ride that you better believe the next three issues will deliver.