Steven Grant is no stranger to gritty, noir-esque comic storytelling, having penned the original Punisher mini-series over twenty years ago. Here he tells a tale more akin to the movie The Lookout or Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway, with maybe a bit of Pulp Fiction for good measure. The story starts off as a run of the mill bank robbery, but by the end, comes up with a twist that will want you to pick up the next issue just to see where it goes.
The story of 2 Guns is gritty and all rough edges, but Santolouco’s art is a bit cartoony, and the coloring a bit bright for this book. Sometimes this can work, but here, it is a bit distracting. Grant’s writing is for the most part solid, although some of his dialogue comes off as a bit corny and trying to be too chatty at times. The plot is very similar to a lot of other noir crime stories: a bank robbery, a mob boss wanting revenge, and throw in a beautiful girlfriend who worries, and you have your run-of-the-mill noir crime story. Just when you figure it out however, the last page gives a twist to the whole story that will have you wondering just where this story is going to go.
2 Guns #1
For all its faults though, this comic is not half-bad. It is only when compared to some of its contemporary crime comics, such as 100 Bullets, Criminal and The Killer that it falls a little short of the bar that those have set. Truth be told however, this is just the first issue, and things can certainly change from there for the better. With the twist that Grant provides at the end, there is certainly a possibility for the story to get very interesting, very quickly.
While Santolouco’s artwork is maybe not the best match for this story, it is quite good, and one hopes that his art will show up again as he is able to give each character their own look, a skill that is much more important than many realize in the medium of comic books. Here however, it just comes across as too light for the story’s mood. Perhaps if it had been colored a bit darker, Santolouco’s artwork would fit better.
This is a comic that feels like the same old for most of the time, but then shows you that perhaps it is not quite what it seems at the end. In some ways, it may have been better to have reviewed the first few issues, because, as it stands, the story is just not very compelling for the most part. That coupled with the art that while technically quite good, just does not mesh with the story, leaves one with the feeling that perhaps this could have been, or could be in the future issues, so much more.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.