cover image High Rollers

High Rollers

Gary Phillips, . . Boom, $15.99 (112pp) ISBN 978-1-934506-47-9

Written by acclaimed mystery novelist Phillips (High Hand ; Bangers ), this crime story hits with the impact of a gun butt to the teeth. L.A. gangsta CQ is an accomplished enforcer for coked-up drug kingpin Tre Loc, but CQ's blind loyalty to his boss is shaken when he's assigned to shake down Tre Loc's crackhead attorney by kidnapping the woman's little girl, thus gaining leverage should the attorney ever decide to spill her guts to the Feds. As CQ wrestles with the logistics of snatching the kid, his estranged sister begs him to make her gambling-addicted husband's exorbitant debt to the local Chicano “go away,” a situation opening the door to a violent and bloody gang war that also affords CQ a chance at improving his own station. To say more would be criminal, as this taut yarn of crooks, corruption and carnage adds up to a stirring series intro, its excellent script bolstered by wholly appropriate photo-realistic art. There are several crime comics out there, but this one is the clear standout and should be given more than a casual look. (June)