Review: Trista + Holt: Volume 1

THVol11CvrSince I jumped on board reading Andrez Bergen’s noir series Trista & Holt around Issue #3, I was thrilled for the opportunity to circle back to the beginning with Trista & Holt: Volume 1, which contains Issues #1-5.

From Issue #1 we get a sense of Trista’s hard-boiled personality (gorgeous Trista is; pushover, she ain’t). In the first issues, one becomes oriented to the urban jungle of mob violence Trista so deftly navigates and how she’s risen to the top of Marcella Cornwall’s crime organization as quickly as she has. Yes, she’s Marcella’s niece, but blood only runs so deep and Marcella is not the sentimental type at all. It’s here that we also meet Issy Holt for the first time, scion of a rival powerhouse crime family, as handsome as Trista is beautiful but privileged in ways that Trista could never imagine.

TH-4 sample 2If you’re a fan of hard-boiled neo-noir this is your cup of tea, or rather, shot of whiskey, and even if you’re new to that shadowy world where cruel fate rules and violence or the threat thereof lurks around every corner, consider this your education. Bergen is a fantastic story-teller and the characters that populate and images that illustrate the darkened alleys, mob-owned discos and grand mansions of Trista & Holt: Volume 1 run the gamut from classic femme fatales, fall guys, flunkies and gunsels to sublimely eccentric disco-era versions of same. Since this series is based on the legend of Tristan and Isolde, there are visual references to the ancient origins of that story as well, making this another example of the elasticity and supreme adaptability of noir.

TH-4 sample 3Each issue blends seamlessly into the next and as the violence escalates so does star-crossed romance. World-weary as both Trista and Issy are and have every right to be, there’s a spark the first time they meet at a grand funeral for a longtime member of the Holt crime organization. If Trista and Issy are ever reminded for a moment that they’re young, beautiful, and both have their whole lives ahead of them, the dark world of which each is a part is ever ready to yank them back into blood-soaked, shattered reality. Having been groomed their whole lives to do their respective families’ bidding, there’s a wildness about Trista and Issy that’s just waiting to break loose. Exactly how that will happen remains to be seen, but Issue #5 hints at what’s to come as their worlds start to collide.

TH-4 sample 5Trista & Holt Volume 1 is a great read and a cutting edge work of postmodern art. Inspired by an age-old romance, with classic noir motifs and the gritty glamour of 1970’s neo-noir, Bergen’s series incorporates imagery drawn from the worlds of cinema, literature, advertising, all aspects of pop culture, and yes, comics. The striking visuals and haunting narrative combine most effectively to create a noir experience that will stick with you for a long time.

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

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