A super duper exclusive look at two of my favourite pages from the upcoming brilliantly deranged miniseries that is one part Spider Jerusalem punk, one part Mieville madness, and a dash of Cronenberg with a psychedelic Mortimer cherry on top.
As someone who is pretty privileged to be able to write about comics for both fun and work, I get a lot of comics on my desk waiting to be read and hoping to be reviewed. Very occasionally I come across one that not only impresses me, but smacks me in the face with utter glee. Rarely does this come out of nowhere, but for me one comic in particular this year was a complete shock to the system. Ladies, gentlemen – I give you Ballistic!
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Transmetropolitan. It’s what got me into writing, through a strange mix of Warren Ellis’ sociocultural commentary and Darick Roberston’s delightfully gross visuals. Spider Jerusalem is in fact my hero, as much as he would hate that. I also find the brain meats of China Mieville most delectable, particularly his Remade of Perdido Street Station, miserably bio-engineered convicted criminals who lumber around with their horrific metal and flesh appendages. Unsurprisingly I am also a lover of weird horror films and imagery – when it’s telling a greater story of course (no centipedes of humans please, icky).
Through Transmet I came to recognise Robertson’s distinctive style and followed him to The Boys which outgrossed me at one point before gleefully bringing my back to the fold. And Happy, with Grant Morrison was one sadistic story that I loved.
But Ballistic is no clone of any of these. What it shares with Transmetropolitan and China Mieville’s twisted mind is that genuine spark of innovation. Something new, something different, something to stimulate the tired brain cells and bring those turbines back to speed. Mortimer is a relative newcomer to comic writing, and is perhaps best known for his work in tv and film, including his role as director on Grant Morrison’s in-development Sinatoro. The sheer amount of world building that has gone into Ballistic is rather incredible. As is Robertson’s realisation of it all (see page 3 below!).
Synopsis: Welcome to Repo City State, where everyone’s an asshole… even the air conditioners.
Darick Robertson (Happy, The Boys, Transmetropolitan) and Adam Egypt Mortimer’s (director of Grant Morrison’s upcoming Sinatoro) madcap, psychedelic, transreal, utterly-wacko buddy adventure about Butch and his best friend Gun, a drug-addicted, genetically-modified, foul-mouthed firearm, as they attempt to elevate Butch from air conditioner repairman to master criminal in the twisted, post-eco-apocalyptic Repo City State, a reclaimed trash island built entirely from DNA-based, living technology with bad attitudes.
Ballistic marks Darick Robertson’s return to the hard sci-fi worldbuilding of his classic Transmetropolitan but mixed with The Boys’ ultra-violence and the lunacy of Happy. Mortimer’s mix of speculative science, pulpy noire, and drug-addled adventure cooks up a strange brew of Lethal Weapon by way of Cronenberg meets Dr. Who if written by Odd Future.
With comics I tend towards enthusing over those I like rather than dwelling over those I dislike – I’m here to spread the joy and elsewhere to try and poke the mainstream into paying attention to the wonderful things happening in the land of comics. But even given my exuberant nature, it’s not often that I’m left actually buzzing after reading a comic. That I think “FUCK YES!” and immediately beg to be able to share some pages in order to get this comic into more hands so that more people with minds like mine can sit in a happy bubble of delectation after consuming this transfer of creative energy.
So enjoy these two exclusively revealed pages – my favourites – and indulge in the previously released first three pages as well. And you can count on an advance review from me soon as well where I shall reveal more details to keep your appetites whetted.
Ballistic. Bloody brilliant.
Writer: Adam Egypt Mortimer
Artist: Darick Robertson
Colourist: Diego Rodriguez
Cover Artist: Darick Robertson
Production Artist: Vincent Kukua
Producer: Matt Pizzolo
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Diamond Code: APR130918
Release Date: July 10th
Laura Sneddon is a comics journalist and academic, writing for the mainstream UK press with a particular focus on women and feminism in comics. Currently working on a PhD, do not offend her chair leg of truth; it is wise and terrible. Her writing is indexed at comicbookgrrrl.com and procrastinated upon via @thalestral on Twitter.