Hard Case Crime/Titan Comics 2021
Written by Charles Ardai
Illustrated by Ang Hor Kheng
Coloured by Asifu Rahman
Lettered by David Leach
The weapon you need, where you need it, when you need it – she’ll get it!
When a gun smuggled into a high-security prison leads to the escape of a brutal criminal, weapons smuggler Joanna Tan is enlisted by the U.S. government to find the man she set loose and bring him down!
Oh I really like this book! I mean she’s not a fixer, not a James Bond wannabe nope she’s a woman who will get you a gun when and where you need it. What happens after that isn’t her business, at least that’s what she tells herself and the Government thinks that she needs to do her thing but for them. Plausible deniability is what it sounds like to me and as a freelance contractor they cannot be held responsible for something that goes wrong. I mean on the surface it sounds like a sweet deal but let’s face it when working with the U.S. Government it’s more like a shitshow than a fine dining experience. Still we’ll see what happens and what Joanna needs to do and if or when she has had enough.
I love the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development we see is phenomenal thanks to the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter that beautifully brings their personalities to the forefront. The pacing is excellent and as it introduces us to the story, the characters and the world they live in we’re drawn into this like it’s a blockbuster film.
I am enjoying how we see this being structured and how the layers within the story begin to emerge and grow. How we see the layers within the story open up avenues to be explored is exceptional work. The avenues we see may or may not be explored but they all add this delicious depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is immaculately achieved.
The interiors here are bloody mindbogglingly gorgeous! It takes a good strong hand, ability and skill to draw a woman that comes across as this sensual without going overboard into the cheesy or erotic realm and it is perfectly, I mean perfectly rendered here. The linework is exquisite and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create this level & quality of detail within the work is extraordinary. I love that we see backgrounds being utilised as they are. It makes me such a happy camper as they really enhance and expand the moments. They also work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a fantastic eye for how colour works. The flashback sequences and how those hues and tones are rendered is just impressive to me.
I love these books from Hard Case Crime and not just because they feature women in these positions, though I’d love to see a half naked (gay) man doing things along these lines in one of them. This is told in such a way that you cannot and do not want to escape from the story and instead you want to join what we see on the pages. This is so incredibly well written with some extraordinary characterisation alongside these absolutely stunning interiors that bring us an adventure worthy of the silver screen.