Lapham calls back big time to the original Stray Bullets this issue. He works it in as background, very, very discreet background. His expository dialogue is good enough a new reader could walk right in. The neat part of not going overboard with a callback is it doesn’t make the comic seem too forced. It feels far more organic.
The story concerns a teenage runaway who stops in with her aunt. The aunt’s got some problems going on, the runaway’s got some problems going on, but there’s this wonderful sense of history between the two women. Lapham infers it all, both through his composition and the dialogue.
There are complications–the girl meets a boy, the uncle is nearly catatonic–and Lapham does work his way to a sensational finale. But the things along the way are even better. He’s writing these fabulous scenes between his characters; good plotting is just gravy.
Sweet Jane; writer, artist and letterer, David Lapham; editors, Karen Hoyt and Maria Lapham; publisher, Image Comics.