Thursday, February 23, 2012

100 Bullets Vol. 1 First Shot, Last Call Trade Paperback Review

100 Bullets Vol. 1 - First Shot, Last Call
DC Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
128 pages
$9.95 (2000)
ISBN 9781563896453

Contributors: Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Dave Johnson, Clem Robins, Digital Chameleon, Grant Goleash, and introduction by Jim Steranko

Reprints: 100 Bullets #1-5 + story from Vertigo: Winter's Edge #3

Synopsis: Agent Graves has an offer you can't refuse - he'll give you a suitcase containing all the evidence proving the person who ruined your life is guilty, an untraceable gun, one hundred untraceable bullets, and a promise you'll never be convicted.

  • 100 Bullets - Isabelle "Dizzy" Cordova just got out of prison and returns to her old neighborhood.  While she was locked up her husband and child were gunned down in a drive-by shooting.  Her brother is now a young OG running major deals on the streets.  Dizzy rides the train one day and meets a strange man with a suitcase.  The evidence points to two crooked cops, but the truth behind her family's murder runs deeper.  Will she choose revenge or make peace with her troubled past?
  • Shot, Water Back - Lee Dolan is a down-on-his-luck bartender in a rat-hole pub.  He used to be a hot-shot restaurateur with a bright future until some kiddie porn showed up on his computer.  Despite his pleas of innocence the media roasted him alive and his wife walked right out the door with their son.  Agent Graves shows up in his bar with the briefcase and points him in the direction of a beautiful socialite.  Seems she's hiding a nasty secret, but can Lee really commit cold-blooded murder?
  • Agent Graves
  • Silencer Night - It's Christmas Eve at the precinct when a sweet old woman walks in and confesses to murder.  Seems she was given a briefcase and the weight of her conscience has finally won.  Problem is there's no murder case to solve.  Does this sound familiar?
Pros: Decent writing by Azzarello, highly competent art by Risso, painted covers by Johnson, nominated for an Eisner award - Best New Series 2000, nominated for an Eisner award - Best Serialized Story #1-3 "100 Bullets" 2000

Cons: Typical crime noir, gang-member dialect doesn't sound authentic, short stories, some majorly implausible situations, high-concept

Mike Tells It Straight: This Vertigo series has gotten a lot of praise over the years and I finally decided to check it out.  It was decent, but didn't knock my socks off.  Decent crime noir with good art, covers were just okay.  I liked the plot twists at the end and the main characters had some depth, but all the other characters were flat.  Parts of the story just didn't mesh smoothly.

"Could you at least look at my
face, yeah, it's up here, if
you're going to shoot me in
the face?"
The story premise is set up with Graves giving people the suitcase filled with evidence and a gun/bullets to exact revenge on the guilty (who are untouchable by the due process of law).  It's an interesting premise, but I can see the novelty wearing off pretty quickly without some major continuing plot developments.

My take on this first collection is the creative team and story were still working out some kinks.  Subsequent arcs must get better or the series wouldn't have won three Eisner awards.  I loved Ed Brubaker's crime noir from Criminal and his superhero version in Sleeper, but this didn't quite hit the same level. I'll give the next volume a chance mostly because of the hype and we'll see what happens.

TO BUY and Recommendations:

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