Ballistic is an explosive adventure from page one to the book’s end.
Adam Egypt Mortimer and Darick Robertson’s Ballistic is my kind of book. Starting from the first panel of the first page, the crime worshipping city of Repo City State constantly bombards readers with the craziest of concepts, the strangest of settings, and the deadliest of characters.
Ballistic follows the life of reluctant air-conditioner repairman, Butch, and his confidant-in-arms, Gun, a genetically modified and drug-addicted side arm, in a true buddy adventure turned on its head. Ballistic feels like a book where anything can happen and any idea is possible, and when brought to page by Robertson’s grimey and organic style, culminates in an explosive amount of fun.
Ballistic is a mash-up of many styles, it’s part crime thriller, part science-fiction mind-bender, part explosive action flick, but most of all, it’s a great buddy adventure. Butch and Gun’s interactions, considering one is a human and one is a weapon, make up the heart of Ballistic. Butch, who may as well be dying to be a criminal, is constantly bantering back and forth with his less than supportive best-friend, whether the pair are dodging future weapons, plotting a bank-robbery, or doing mass amount of illegal drugs.
Gun’s “smart-ass” remarks are the perfect counter for Butch’s lack of confidence, as the weapon functions as a sarcastic reminder of his friend’s shortcomings, and it’s safe to say that Gun pulls no punches. The pair make a great team, but as much as Butch’s story is fun, it would not be difficult to say that Gun steals the show.
Darick Robertson is no stranger to the world of comics, or a book that focuses on crazy science fiction wrapped in a living city, but his take on city life in this book is unlike any other of his previous ventures. Repo City State looks like an organic breathing city, with every structure, vehicle, and object drawn as a hybrid mix of technology and life. Robertson’s art adds an interesting element to Ballistic, as it’s one skill to “tell” readers about the relationship between technology and life, but another completely to see it brought to life so clearly.
Robertson’s art is not purely static landscapes, however, as he pencils several fantastic action scenes, as well as a mind-bending drug-induced sequence with characters and dialogue flipped on their heads, and hallucinations mixing with actual character interactions. Judging by his detailed art alone, it’s clear that Ballistic is quite the labor of love for Darick Robertson.
Adam Egypt Mortimer and Darick Robertson’s Ballistic is an instant page turner. Mortimer left me dying to know what Repo City State with throw at Butch next, what insane scheme he and Gun will come up with, and what fiasco they both will get stuck in. Both the storytelling and the art portray an organic, living city gone mad on science and technology, where every aspect of life is connected in the most bizarre of ways.
Ballistic tells a story unique to itself. Any science-fiction reader or fan of the strange should definitely pay Repo City State a visit.
Adam Egypt Mortimer (W), Darick Robertson (A) • Black Mask Studios, $3.50, July 10, 2013. For more on Ballistic, read our interview with Adam Egypt Mortimer.