Short Comic Review: 100 Bullets

It was a rainy day this past Saturday, so I figured I’d pass some time rereading the most recent volume of 100 Bullets. I ended up rereading the entire series, more or less in reverse order by volume. This is not uncommon for me, the release of each new volume prompts me to go back and reread everything before and I’ve easily read the first several books 15 times. For me, 100 Bullets is effectively to comics what the Wire is for television; there is always something more for me to glean from it with each new reading/viewing.

100 Bullets presents itself at first as series of strange morality tales. An operative for an unknown agency, Agent Graves, approaches a person who has been greatly wronged and presents them with a briefcase containing a gun, one hundred rounds that cannot be traced, and carte blanche to proceed as they like. Early stories explore the different ways people deal with Grave’s offer, but the series quickly expands beyond that to explore questions concerning the origins of Agent Graves, who employs him, and how/why are people chose to receive this offer. Through these avenues story of 100 Bullets rapidly transitions to explorations of mass conspiracies and complicated plots of vengeance between an ensemble cast of characters with murky pasts. Brian Azzarello’s writing does a great job of providing distinct voices for his many characters and shows a level of planning with regard for a slowly revealed plot that I personally have never seen in comics before. (At a planned, and almost completed, one hundred issues this series mandates an intense commitment to the concept.) Eduardo Riso’s art never fail to impress and seems perfectly suited for the noir/pulp themes the stories explore. I’ll be sad to see this series end but I’m very much looking forward to the answers to questions that have been building for years.

The penultimate volume come out at the end of September, and with only 5 issues left the series will reach its end soon. Definitely one of the best series going, and even with the stiff competition from DMZ this is my favorite current Vertigo title.

I read the first 4 or 5 issues of this after a friend loaned it to me and I was underwhelmed. I just didn’t feel like I could connect with the characters.

It does have a slow build, it takes a good 10 issues before you a start getting introduced to the first set of the major characters etc. I guess I read a lot of crime fiction and watch a lot of crime movies and for me it is not about connecting with the characters, its more about the environment the character operate in…