Review: Trista + Holt #3

SmTHTrista & Holt #3 is another work from Andrez Bergen (Iffy Commix) that captures the spirit of noir so perfectly it hurts. What really got me by the throat was that this one was over far too soon and after the feast I experienced by reading all twelve issues of Bergen’s Bullet Gal a few weeks ago collected into one sumptuous volume, It’s Not You, It’s Me, I’m now left waiting hungrily for Trista & Holt #4 (if you haven’t caught all of Bullet Gal yet, 10-12 are yet to arrive in separate issues).
It’s the nature of Bergen’s work that the intoxicating images, motifs and dialogue come from across the entire landscape of literary and film noir and that’s in evidence here. Though it contains references from various eras, Bullet Gal seems more firmly established in the world of “high” noir, with archetypal noir imagery from the 1940’s existing in a digitized-techno narrative that’s completely classic and new (yes, I’m aware of the paradox there. ). Trista & Holt #3 seems to turn that inside-out, with all the classic noir tropes seen here in the neo-noir of the 1970’s. Instead of classic black gangster vehicles a la Capone and company traveling the streets of Heropa we’re treated to Ford Grand Torinos and muscle cars from the era of Starsky & Hutch.

HoltOwlTwo brutal crime families, the Holts and the Cornwalls, each with a powerful matriarch, battle for ultimate supremacy. Violence erupts in the streets against one of the Holt’s guys, making headlines on the news and stirring up shock, blame and plans for revenge within the Holt family and a toxic but (of course) flawlessly beautiful femme fatale, Alaina Holt, takes action while her husband Isidore “Anguish” Holt has a meltdown. It’s definitely worth getting to know the dramatis personae of this corner of Bergen’s dark and fascinating universe.

I love the dynamic of the two warring families, each with its own thugs, wayward relatives and henchmen to contend with, and also the film noir convention of voice-over from the lovely and world-weary Trista, ally to Marcella “Queenie” Cornwall, and the appropriately jaded Issy Holt, whose favorite show, CHiPs, is interrupted by news of the family’s wheel man’s untimely demise. Perhaps Issy’s apparent dead-pan delivery illustrates the detachment necessary to exist in such a maelstrom of violence and treachery, the fabulous mid-century modern surroundings of his apartment notwithstanding. No wonder he seeks escape in the company of Ponch and the gang, but Alaina isn’t about to let any of the men escape from reality for very long; she’s a woman of action, as is her nemesis, Queenie Cornwall. Like in Bullet Gal, the decisive action of the women propels the story forward and any signs of lingering in thought, grief and self-pity are severely frowned upon. There’s just no room for that here. Something about the epic battles between these two families and the take-no-prisoner divas at the helm of each winks at the popular nighttime American soaps of the ‘80’s, such as Dallas, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest, only instead of oil, mining or wine, these gangster families deal directly in gun-power and turf-wars, and turn to violence as a way to get things done first instead of last.

If you’re a fan of noir, this is a must-read and you’ll be addicted immediately; and if you’re not a noir fan but you love new and innovative forms of story-telling, you have to check this out.

Story: Andrez Bergen Art: Andrez Bergen
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10
Recommendation: Buy

The creator/publisher provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.