There has been a hole in my life ever since David Lapham stopped serializing Stray Bullets, a hole unfilled by any of Lapham's subsequent efforts. Three issues in, Gabriel Hardman's Kinski is laying its claim to the vacant space and setting up shop.
And yet, just three issues in to this digital series, I don't have a clear sense as to why. After all, so far the first three issues feature no crime more horrible than the stealing of a dog from a young boy—pretty horrid, yes, but that would be a kittens-and-teddybears moment in Stray Bullets. In fact, the first three issues have covered precisely the following plot points: #1: stealing of dog; #2: decision to drive dog the fifteen hours home after the airplane won't allow him in the cabin; #3: the decision to return the dog.
But over it all hovers an air of menace, instability, coiled danger as intense as anything in Lapham's Baltimore. Much of this lies with our protagonist, Joe— Kinski's would-be rescuer, chicken feed salesman and delusional gallant who is clearly heading into a world of trouble he can't begin to anticipate. The spare, gritty black and white effectively captures the jagged edge on which Joe is riding, taking us into a world at once etched in hard, spare lines and simultaneously out of focus, as if shrouded in fog. The feeling is very much one of riding shot gun towards a car crash, everything slowing down to a series of storyboard fragments before the final impact.
Half-way through the six-issue series, I am still not sure what to expect when all the pieces collide, but I am strapped in (and subscribed) for the rest of the ride. Don't let me down, Joe. I'm counting on you.