Gun Honey Volume 1 Review: Guilty Pleasure Pulp
I tell one of the writers I edit that it's more challenging than you think to write something whose main virtue is that it's easy to read. At the time, I was thinking of romance novels, but it could just as easily apply to the first collection of Gun Honey. I believe Titan promoted the series at NYCC last year?
Gun Honey, drawn by Ang Hor Kheng and colored by Asifur Rahman, is about a fantastically attractive female gun runner (Joanna Tan) who is blackmailed into service by the U.S. government. It's more pulp than noir, as Kheng (and perhaps the writer, Charles Ardai) take almost every opportunity to remind you Tan has an incredible rack.
It's male gazey as hell, but then again, that goes with the genre. And when the publisher's Hard Case Crime, a publishing company literally founded to bring works inspired by those early pulp novels to market, I understand how they get there.
I did like Kheng's work. At its high points, it was clear and uncluttered while still putting in work on the backgrounds. In the third issue, there's a particularly strong part in an abandoned castle where Kheng and Rahman use an in-panel flashlight to lead the eye and keep the reader guessing as to what's in the shadows. Rahman's palette added mood and texture to Kheng's pages, especially in particularly dark locales.
As for the plot, I admit it kept my attention, and the cliffhangers were good. This first volume of Gun Honey wrapped up a little too neatly, but Hard Case Crime and Titan announced there's a volume two coming. The backmatter in the collection felt comprehensive, as it included all of the covers, a couple of short essays, and some pencils from Kheng.
If Hard Case Crime and Titan Comics can keep the team of Ardai, Kheng, Rahman, and letterer David Leach together, they've got an instantly recognizable guilty pleasure on their hands.
The award winning Charles Ardai, co-founder of Hard Case Crime, brings his noir expertise to the fore in his debut graphic novel about a sexy weapons smuggler.
She'll get you the weapon you need, when you need it, where you need it – no matter how impossible.
But when a gun smuggled into a high-security prison leads to the death of dozens and the escape of a brutal criminal, Joanna Tan is suddenly forced by the U.S. government to do a job for them: find the man she set loose and bring him down.
Collects Gun Honey #1-4.