Gunning For Hits #4 // Review
Success is only as good as the moment it happens. The moment of success is defined by all of the rest of everything that has nothing to do with it. Record industry A&R guy Martin Mills begins to dive into the reality of this in the fourth issue of Gunning For Hits. Jeff Rougvie’s tale continues with a few sparklingly interesting moments. Artist Moritat continues to make a distinct impression in the artwork. The overall run of the story begins to feel a little uneven with this issue as certain plot points from previous issues echo into the ongoing story, but there’s enough here to make for another thoroughly satisfying chapter in the life of Mills.
Bowie-esque music legend Brian Slade has been working quite closely with up-and-coming indie talent Billy: singer/songwriter of Stunted Growth. There’s rumor going around that there’s been some heavy drug use, which would explain how Slade and Billy can work in the studio all night into the next morning. Meanwhile, Mills is forced to employ rather unorthodox methods to ensure radio play of Stunted Growth in a couple of key markets and Slade becomes the target of gun-wielding would-be murderers.
With both Slade and Stunted Growth firmly established in the run of the story, the early part of the issue drags a bit. Rougvie does a good job of establishing a connection between the characters that have been introduced in the series thus far. A few characters make a vivid impression. Of particular note is Billy’s colleague Diane, who makes something of a heroic appearance here. This is something of a triumph for her as she’s been doing little more than rotating around in the background of the series thus far. The single best scene by far has Mills confronting a few guys who run a radio station in LA. There’s a cleverly crazy kind of energy in that scene that plays to the narrative strengths of the series thus far.
Moritat’s stylishly passionate sketchy style of drama continues to serve the series well, punctuated as it is by impressively detailed architectural imagery to establish mood. Diane comes across looking quite beautiful this issue, which fits with her more prominent role in this issue. The strange alchemy of Mills’ visual signature comes across with mysterious power here. He’s really just a guy in a black suit with black hair. There’s nothing particularly distinct about him, but there’s a strangely iconic power behind that visually nondescript look about the central character of the book, which feels particularly powerful in an issue where h’s not quite as prominent as he has been for the first three chapters.
Once again, one of the more unique offerings on the modern comic book rack continues to make a one-of-a-kind impression in an issue that shuffles around the central focus of the ongoing story. It’s difficult to measure the pacing of the series as Slade and Billy seem to be burning through the narrative relatively early. Billy’s band is already emerging to impending success, which suggests that Rougvie’s plans for the series will likely expand to cover the life of Mills in decades to come beyond the current era of the late 1980s.