Case-in-point: Bullet Gal. The Bullet Gal saga stands on its own as a dark and gritty noir superhero comic. If you just picked it up and started reading, you’d be able to follow it just fine. But, as I’ve mentioned before, Bullet Gal was a character in Bergen’s novel, Who Is Killing the Capes of Heropa? Thus, reading the novel will give you a better picture of who these characters are and the world they live in.
Not only that, Heropa takes place in the same world as Bergen’s first novel, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. Reading that one isn’t necessary to understanding or appreciating either Heropa or Bullet Gal, but again, it helps shape and define the world these characters are living in and who and what they are in relation to it. And, finally, there’s Bergen’s most recent novel, Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth, which couldn’t be more different from the others—but is still connected, in ways you can’t imagine until you read it. You don’t NEED to read any of these other works to appreciate Bullet Gal, but you’ll want to.
So, what of Bullet Gal #2? When we last left our heroine, she was an angry and troubled young woman in a city of superheroes who, lacking actual superpowers, chose to fight criminals using guns. When we join her in this issue, she’s been training with Lee, her mentor, for a couple of months to hone her talents and channel her anger into becoming a legitimate superhero; however, she still has a long way to go. Meanwhile, her incessant killing of the scum of Heropa has raised the ire of the local crime boss, who sets out to do something about it.
If you haven’t read Bullet Gal #1 yet, have no fear. The digital version of this comic includes the original 15-page mini-comic as a bonus at the end. Standalone though Bergen’s works may be, it’s always best to start with #1.
The story is compelling and fun, with a great noir feel to it. And, I love the art in these comics (also by Bergen). It’s rather unique. Rather than typical drawings, it uses photos, stylized and played with to look more comic-y, for a black-and-white, high contrast look that adds to the gritty, noir style.
If you’re into noir and/or superheroes, you’ll definitely want to check out the Bullet Gal series. It’s a lot of fun, that you won’t want to miss. The only thing that could make the series better is, since all of Bergen’s works are connected/intertwined, if sometime down the line, Roy and Suzie were to put in an appearance, as well. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?