Last week I read Planet of the Apes Vol. 1 which was an action packed story set in one of the many licensed universes. I love good science fiction stories, but it was time to come back to earth this week. It was time to get grim, and gritty, and noiry but with a twist. I wanted criminals that weren’t run of the mill. I wanted situations that I hadn’t read a hundred times before. I found that in SON OF THE GUN VOL. 1: SINNER and VOL. 2: SAINT written by Alexandro Jodorowsky, illustrated by Georges Bess, published by Humanoids.
Son of the Gun is the story of an orphan who finds crime and eventually finds redemption. Our story starts when a dwarf, transvestite hooker finds a baby abandoned in a trash can. He’s about to feed the baby to dogs when he notices the child has a tail. Yes, a tail. Realizing the child is as much of a freak as he is, he takes the child to raise as his own. Having nothing to quiet the child, the dwarf uses an old antique gun as a pacifier. Years later, when the dwarf is beaten and near death, the child, now called Juan Solo, fulfills the dwarf’s dying request and loads him into a soapbox racer full of dynamite which the dwarf drives into the local church so he can gain access to Heaven. That’s the first quarter of the first volume, and the story gets strange and violent after this as Juan gains power and influence in the criminal underworld.
Alexandro Jodorowsky, author of another classic series The Metabarons, is certifiably insane. That’s all I can figure because this book is nuts. If you thought Aaron’s Punisher Max series was a little too violent then stay far away from this book because it makes that look mellow in comparison. Vol. 1 is based upon the premise that you can’t achieve redemption unless you have done a few bad things along the way. Well, under Jodorowsky’s pen Juan Solo doesn’t do a few bad things, he does a lot of bad things. Really nasty, vile, despicable things to just about everyone in the book. He isn’t a likeable character, but it’s an incredibly entertaining story because every time you think he’s done the worst and he can’t do anything more despicable… he does! It becomes a page turner because you can’t wait to see what terrible deeds he’s going to do next.
And Vol. 2 starts off much the same. But, after a heck of a batch of curveballs, Juan finds a heart. It’s still two sizes too small, but it’s there. And then Juan starts on the merry path of redemption. Please note, the path to redemption is less violent, but no less degrading. It’s incredible and just when you think you know where the story is going, Jodorowsky changes it. The art by Bess is fantastic, too. He has a very realistic style that only makes all the events in the story that much more impactful.
Son of the Gun is one of the grittiest, dirtiest, violent crime noir stories I have read in a long, long time. If you can stand the extreme nature of the book you are in for a treat. If you are looking for a story that will entertain and shock you at the same time, then this is the book for you.
- David Lee