‘Bullseye’ is a good crime comic, but it lacks a good narrative for its protagonist.
Whenever Marvel produces a villain centric title you best set your sights on it. Stories like Thanos do well to give the usual evil for evil’s sake villains the kind of purpose and character work you to expect in a hero book. Enter Bullseye, a series myself and fellow writer Russ Dobler didn’t find overwhelmingly good or bad. I’ve come back to it to get a handle on how the story reads in one sitting.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
He’s a ruthless hitman who never misses, a deadly foe who can turn any object into a lethal weapon! But why is the Marvel Universe’s most dangerous assassin heading to Colombia to take aim at a drug cartel? Find out as Bullseye takes charge!
Why does this matter?
Ed Brisson recently signed an exclusive contract with Marvel and it’s because he does good work. Old Man Logan is a personal favorite of his ongoing work, but Iron Fist is not too far behind. We’re in good hands with this series and it shows if you’re a fan of mobster stories involving very bad people.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I thought playing cards were Gambit’s schtick.
The crime aspect is pulled off wonderfully in this story and it reminded me of Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets. Bad guys are very bad, there’s an evilness captured that makes them juggernauts of ruthlessness and that goes hand in hand with Bullseye. As the story progresses Colombian crime lords are taken out, secret plans are revealed, and a lot of goons die in the process. Bullseye isn’t so much a hero as a force of nature in his way of killing with impossible items. Ed Brisson uses the character well to show how he’s like a tazmanian devil, twisting through a criminal organization that’s air tight and bringing with him the chaos that could tear them to shreds.
Surprisingly Bullseye isn’t really the main character in this work (more on that later), with some rather interesting supporting characters who tend to feel more like the series protagonist. One is an FBI agent named Joy who wants revenge on Bullseye and she ends up partnering with two ex CIA named Bullet and Shotgun. They have their own reasons for this partnership, which is revealed as the story progresses. Bullet and Shotgun are rather interesting characters who have a bond that’s clear and a story that’s yet to be told. Joy ends up being a rather interesting vengeful woman in part because she’s insatiable. By the end of the story you get the sense Brisson has more ideas for these characters and they’ll be back in the future.
Crime capers like this tend to go in a predictable route, but I was honestly surprised by the ending of this story. Surprised, but also satisfied, as the characters get their due and satisfying conclusions. It ends in a way that makes you want more from these characters, which is typically a good sign the story was done well.
Guillermo Sanna draws this book with Miroslav Mrva on colors and together they give the book the perfect tone for a Colombian crime drama. It’s gritty and dark, tends to let the blood fly free, and it’s quite good at capturing Bullseye’s madness. The dude is nuts guys and it shows throughout. The layout work is quite good and keeps the story moving at a good clip. There aren’t too many full page spreads, but Sanna delivers enough detail per panel to not make that much of a missed element.
There’s a short backup story by Marv Wolfman, drawn by Alec Morgan, that’s quite good at showing another side of Bullseye. In this story we see what lengths of danger Bullseye will put himself through to make do on a job. Calculating and strategic, this story helps flesh out the character a bit more.
What a madman.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Strangely Bullseye is more of a supporting character in the narrative of this story. He’s a character that enacts change and moves the needle so to speak, but you never get a greater sense of who he is and why he does the things he does. Basically Brisson shows us he’s a killer because he likes to kill. There’s a bud of development in the first issue that involves Bullseye’s agent, but this character is abandoned after the introduction. If this series continued I’m sure there’d be more development of Bullseye and his relationship with the agent, but as far as this arc there isn’t much to the character.
Is It Good?
Bullseye is more a force of nature than an actual lead character, which is certainly a surprise with his name plastered on the front of this book, but there’s still a strong crime story here. Fans of works like 100 Bullets will dig the plot, violence, and general feel of this story that’ll make you want more.