Someday, I will read the original story of Tristan and Iseult. I’ve been meaning to ever since I started reading and reviewing Andrez Bergen’s Trista & Holt comic, because I want to understand better how this crazy, disco noir story relates to its source material. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to get around to reading the original. Fortunately, you don’t need to be familiar with it to appreciate this comic.
There’s trouble brewing between two powerful crime families: The Holts, led by Isidor “Anguish” Holt, and the Cornwalls, led by Marcella “Queenie” Cornwall. When an explosion leaves two minor Cornwall underlings dead, it sets off a chain of events that has both sides retaliating against one another.
Marcella sends her niece and trusted advisor, Trista, to investigate things. Trista is, of course, a female version of Tristan from the original story. Iseult’s counterpart is Anguish’s son Issy Holt. At first glance, he seems to be a drunken playboy who doesn’t do much of anything. But, in fact, he’s a lot smarter and more capable than he seems.
There’s action aplenty throughout this volume, as we switch back and forth between the POVs of our two protagonists—while their respective families keep trying to murder one another. Neither of them has the full story of what’s going on, or who, exactly, ordered what hit, so the story unfolds slowly, as they each get new pieces of information.
The real appeal of this comic, though, is the art. Bergen’s trademark photomanipulation style includes random images, some bits from ’70s pop culture, and a variety of familiar faces, all coming together to tell a single, cohesive story. Bergen’s previous comic series, Bullet Gal, was done in the same style, but Trista & Holt manages to maintain its own distinct aesthetic nonetheless.
I’ve been reviewing the Trista & Holt comics one issue at a time over the last few months, but reading them together in a single volume really helps bring it all together. This volume collects issues 1-5, which is only the very beginning of the story. Personally, I would have included issue 6, as well, but even ending at 5, it’s still a solid story.
I’ll admit that I’m not as fond of Trista & Holt as I was of Bullet Gal, Bergen’s superhero noir comic. Honestly, though, Bullet Gal was one of a kind, and it would be a very difficult comic to top. Still, Trista & Holt is a great read, very entertaining, and well worth checking out.