David Lapham is one hell of good a storyteller. His long-running noir series Stray Bullets is one of the best comic titles ever. His spin-off series, Stray Bullets: Killers, keeps the same noir feel while zooming in a bit to focus primarily on two teen characters: Eli and Virginia.
So far in this new series we’ve seen their burgeoning relationship grow more intense while their families and friends look on with concern. While that may sound like the synopsis of a cheesy young adult novel, keep in mind that so far we’ve seen Eli’s father get killed at the hands of Spanish Scott, Virginia’s uncle commit suicide, and then there’s the ever-present threat of Mr. Finger.
Stray Bullets: Killers #4 continues with the up-close-and-personal look at the lives of Eli and Virginia. They sneak around, Eli buys a couple of condoms (from a bathroom vending machine no less), and his mother disapproves of his choice in girlfriends. Eli and Virginia run away and live together in Mr. Finger’s beach house until Cousin Adam tells Eli he should go back home. When he does, things get rocky for him and Virginia.
David Lapham is also one hell of a good artist, able to show so much with a compact form. The art in this issue is top notch, as always.
The pacing in this book is slower, but it helps us to really dig in and learn about the characters. Killers is a series that teases out details. In the hands of a lesser writer, this story would feel slack. With Lapham, you get the sense that the pacing is intended to feel more like the slow-burning wick on a stick of dynamite.
If you’re looking for a title that plays the long game, Stray Bullets: Killers is the one for you, and Killers #4 would be a great starting point for fans of the old series and new readers alike.
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