One genre which always piques our interest is classic noir tales, stories inspired by the great noir detectives of the 30’s and 40’s. We check out My .22 Always works, a Noir story told in honour of Silver-Age legend Wally Wood and created by Russell Hillman, David Baf Gallart and Sergio Calvet, as it is released by its creators to those who helped it reach its Kickstarter target.
My .22 Always Works tells the story of Stevie who, after an argument with beau Peggy, walks right into trouble in the form of former flame, Donna. As Stevie attempts to resists the enticements of this sultry Femme Fatale, it leads this nightclub drummer down a road of lust and betrayal in this noir story which may lead to Stevie discovering that someone’s .22 really does always work.
Dedicated to the late, great Wally Wood (as mentioned on the inside cover), My .22 Always Works (the name of which is based on Wood’s 22 Panels that always work) is a wonderfully written comic as Russell Hillman captures the noir feeling incredibly well in this seriously engrossing tale. In fact, Hillman perfectly demonstrates with My .22 how styles of genre from times gone by are still as relevant and enjoyable as he crafts a story that presented me with a lot of questions but with them a lot of intrigue. Of course, it isn’t perfect as there are moments of confusion which occur, particularly in regards to Stevie’s true identity (which has me wondering if Hillman is attempting to say something about the notion of identity in this day and age) as well as the motive behind the ‘villain’s’ actions. Nonetheless, these bumps in the road do little to quell my enjoyment of the plot.
As for the art, David Baf Gallart has produced a gorgeous style and look. Reminiscent of Andy Bloor’s work on the Wolfmen comics but a slightly grainier essence, Gallart’s has created pages which are a beautiful homage to the Era of Wood’s and others comics which My .22 is influenced by. In fact, so beautiful and in the vein of the genre it is paying tribute to that every page, but in particular those detailing Stevie’s reintroduction to Donna, really help to sell the mood of the story. (I will mention, just to nitpick, that I’m not sure the gun drawn was a .22, but given that I only just saw Death on the Nile which included one, that’s the only reason I picked up on it).
My .22 Always Works is an immensely enjoyable, riveting and downright gorgeous one shot comic by Messrs Hillman, Gallart and Calvet. While there are some cracks in this story’s particular pavement if you think too hard on the minutiae, this team has so wonderfully rendered this genre both in the visuals and the dialogue that I dare you not to find yourself craving more noir (and from this team in particular).