Publisher: Image Comics (September 4, 2018)
Softcover, 248 pages
This book collects issues 9 through 16 of the on-going series. As a crime comic, Stray Bullets is sharper than a diamond and yet, somehow, comes across as more human than any others in this genre. Perhaps it's because we aren't simply seeing hard men go after a job. We also see the human wreckage that gets dragged along into the underbelly. The people not smart enough to earn except through crime. Those born into it and literally have not known any other way of life. Those kept in it out of habit, substance abuse, or threat. Each character is different and each is tragically flawed and each is remarkably human.
As it stands, we have Nina the junkie who stays in place because of her crime lord boyfriend's threats. Beth, smartest of the lot, who's flaw is an addiction to an easy life and easy money. A lack of self discipline is her fatal flaw. Thirdly, we have the good boy Orson with a college scholarship, who throws it all away for a more thrilling life. He becomes a wild criminal whenever he has a few swigs from a bottle.
From those who remember the original series, this entire plot line spins off from what looked like a one-shot issue number 2. Then there was a massive jump in continuity around issue, where Orson, Beth, and Nina end up in some backwater jerk-berg with a ton of stolen coke and cash. This series fills in the details on the caper and, from what I can see, this backstory plot fixing to be longer than the original series went.
Stray Bullets is such an intense well-plotted story that a longer arc is welcome. Again, knowing what ultimately happens to all of these characters from the first series (with the exception of Kretchmeyer) adds a tragic blend to these character's joys and failures.
For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst.