Writer: Steven Grant
Artist: Mat Santolouco
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Given the title of this comic, it came as quite a surprise that no one in it actually wields two guns. Considering there isnít a professional in the world who would actually employ John Wooís most famous tactic, the surprise is very pleasant, even if it leaves the reader wondering why the book is named 2 Guns. The simple (and once again pleasantly surprising answer) is thereís a lot more going on in BOOM!ís latest title than is readily apparent.
On the surface, 2 Guns is a simple crime story. Two strapped for cash desperadoes, Bobby Bean and Mark Stigman, scope out a bank that looks like itís ripe for the taking. However, the bank is located in a small border town that has more players in it than its population might suggest. As a for instance, being on the border, the town is of great interest to drug kingpins and the DEA. Considering just about everyone is looking to put the squeeze on the 2 Guns, things get complicated very quickly. Like, say, on page 5 quickly.
Much about 2 Guns works. The plot is like a desert snake; it moves in switchbacks and is dangerous to everyone involved. The dialogue is sharp, with a coffee shop scene that is bound to remind a few people of a Tarantino movie. The characters are flushed out and have bona fide motivations for the questionable and sometimes violent actions they take. The art in 2 Guns is strong and renders that characters and action well.
Unfortunately, there are a few things about the story that donít work. Some pages do tend to be too crowded, which throws off the pacing at times. This wouldnít necessarily be bad, but there are a few scenes that donít really feel like they belong. For instance, the bank robbery scenario is complicated by the two robbers stopping in on the local cop shop to preemptively take care of any law enforcement that might get in the way. It could be argued that this scene is in the book to show how smart and forward thinking the criminals are. However, it is preceded by same said criminals brandishing fully automatic weapons in a public parking lot, in broad daylight and without masks on. Both the parking lot scene and the police station scene could have been left from the book without much loss, freeing up much needed space for other parts of the narrative.
The ending of 2 Guns, though, makes it well worth reading through the book. It also left me looking forward to the next issue.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com.
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