Billi is a street hero. But, it's not like she wanted the gig. It's a family tradition: wearing the purple colors and carrying the Spanish sword of Toleado. The last one died for the honor. He was a fat old man. He was Billi's father.
Billi's world is a disturbing near-future one familiar to c-punk readers. This small rust belt city's about to go belly up. Only biz keeping things afloat is Chaddam Industries. And that's being undercut and sold out from within. Y'see, Chaddam's dead. The old fat guy's not there to protect his people anymore. The word is that he was murdered by his daughter. She's still on the run, in the cordon where the poor people scuffle about. Her name's Billi.
Billi was set up, by Chaddam's best friend, her "uncle" Cas, the Brutus of the tale. He's the one putting the pressure on, trying to crack the union, sell out Chaddam. He also has a particularly nasty habit of picking up starving women, feeding them a last meal before wrapping up the evening with ritual rape and murder. It's up to Billi to set things right, up to the union to stand up to the power play, and up to the mob to hand over the guns to make it an even fight. Will Chaddam burn? Will Billie bring justice to the streets?
There's next to no high tech in this political passion play. What you do get are living, breathing characters, up against a world that is ready to shop them for replacement parts. It's a question of standing up for your rights, because no one else will.
Sara Byam wrote Billi 99, creating a true rarity in comics; a believable female action hero. Both she & artist Tim Sale are relative newcomers to comics. Both are very hot! So's Billi. Go buy the back issues while they're still out there. Comics don't get much better than this 4-issue story from Dark Horse.
A four-issue limited series published by
Dark Horse Comics, Inc.
10956 SE Main Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222
Check your local Back Issues Comic Store for prices.
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Billi 99:
(Billi dons the garb of Toleado for the first time, musing...)
"Out-of-work waitress by day...
...avenging hero by night.
Jesus -- they ought to make a comic book out of this."
(She meets with the first person she intends to help, an enslaved singer named Angel. It's in a dark alley. Angel sees Toleado...)
Angel: Oh, God. We thought you were dead. We also thought you were... bigger.
Billi: Yeah, me, too. But right now I'm the best you've got.
(Overheard at a desperate union meeting)
Scab in the audience: The man said they'd negotiate benefits for voting stock.
Union Leader: Are you just stupid, or what? You vote your stomach now and you got no future.
(Billi's Mafia lover muses, about to enter the union meeting to distribute firearms to the strikers)
Never give a boy a sword until he masters poetry.
Never give a man a gun before he masters the sword.
But take away a man's power and you may as well geld him.
So the difference between a fierce man and a brutal boy becomes a matter of control.
The knowledge of the full bitter sweetness of that which he gives up, or takes away.
Never lie down with someone without the deepest respect.
In love --
-- or in death.