As a fan of crime noir novels, I’ve always been fascinated with that era. It’s been more than documented on television and the movies. Television shows like Boardwalk Empire and movies like LA Confidential enchant audiences with the style, feel, and loss of innocence of the era. Writer Ed Brubaker is definitely a disciple of this era, as many of his comics, like Fatale and Criminal, capture the essence of the time period.
I am also a fan of Star Trek. Every iteration that has come out I’ve watched religiously. The quality of writing on each series is some of the best I’ve ever seen. One of my favorite storylines in the Scott Bakula led Enterprise is “The Storm Front” arc where they’re taken to an Earth where Alien Nazis have control. This two-part episode more than melds science fiction, crime noir, and World War II into one of the best stories the Star Trek Universe has ever yielded. In Russell Mark Olson’s Gateway City we get a tale with the same familiar mix but with an even more thrilling story at its core.
We are taken to 1925 St. Louis where our protagonist, Lundy, a private investigator, is being interrogated about his whereabouts two days prior. As he was on a job, looking into a double homicide, which he was hired by the city for, as he uncovers something bigger at play, as he discovers a bootlegging operation, ran by one of the city’s most esteemed Senators. As he stumbles upon a few players that his employer did not account for, as Lundy escapes by skin of his teeth. He gets taken by the Senator’s men and we find out the Senator has a few guests, who are not quite what one would expect. Soon Lundy’s mentor, Wolf, is killed and Lundy goes missing, leaving the police to wonder to believe Lundy had killed his mentor. We also find out what exactly Lundy had to deal with in the war, as he suffered torture, by aliens that looks like the Senator’s guests. As we find the Senator has an illegal Gladiator arena where humans fight aliens. Luckily, his friends, Papers, and Pete, track him down and Lundy finds out who killed Wolf. By books’ end, Lundy gets his vengeance, but his actions unravel unintended consequences in the city and the outer rim of the universe.
Overall, an excellent nostalgia trip to the Prohibition Era that more than thrills, as Olson proves to be an excellent storyteller. The story by Olson, is fast, smart, and well developed. The art by Olson is simply breathtaking. Altogether, a story that will sweep the reader away and will look for genre mashups, especially when they are done as well as this.
Story: Russell Mark Olson Art: Russell Mark Olson and Emily Olson
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy