A genuine spark of innovation is a precious thing, and Ballistic, by filmmaker Adam Egypt Mortimer and comics star Darick Robertson, transmits that spark with shocking force. It’s a future classic, and it comes out in collected form next month.
Butch is an air conditioner repairman who dreams of something more, something greater, something… more criminal. His best friend, Gun, happens to be a sentient firearm and a foul-mouthed drug-addict who has entirely too much fun blowing people’s heads off. Together they climb the ladder of crime in Repo City State, a post-apocalyptic neon-nightmare world built upon reclaimed trash and constructed with DNA-based living technology— a city that is very much alive, and almost certainly worships HR Giger.
And then things start to go really wrong.
The comic begins with a fist halfway through someone’s face, blood flecks spraying across the page and drowning the gutter in red. It ends with the reader desperate for more of this addictive, ballistic madness. The pacing is manic as psychedelic and insanely detailed world-building collides with hyper-violent mayhem. It’s difficult to believe that it’s Mortimer’s first foray into comics writing—he's refreshingly light on wordy exposition, but a handy breakdown is provided at the end revealing the mechanics and history behind each character interaction and glorious tech invention.
Robertson is well known for his prolific sagas, tremendous character work and, most of all, for his horrific depictions of violence. Transmetropolitan, his 60-issue cyberpunk series with Warren Ellis, remains an influential science fiction comics classic, while gross-out anti-superhero fare The Boys, written by Garth Ennis, ran even longer and delighted readers disaffected with staid superhero stories.
The sheer lunacy of Ballistic lets Robertson really flex his creative talents, giving the invented world a background as vibrant with life as the story itself, Mad Magazine crossed with William Gibson.
Ballistic (9781628750287) comes out on April 7th from Black Mask Studios. The cover for the trade is shown below for the first time.