Saturday, June 23, 2012

100 Bullets Vol. 4 A Foregone Tomorrow Trade Paperback Review

100 Bullets Vol. 4 - A Foregone Tomorrow
DC Comics - Vertigo
Softcover Trade Paperback
264 pages
$17.95 (2002)

Contributors: Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Dave Johnson, Patricia Mulvihill, Digital Chameleon, Clem Robins, Paul Pope, Joe Jusko, Mark Chiarello, Jim Lee, Lee Bermejo, Dave Gibbons, Tim Bradstreet, Jordi Bernet, Frank Miller, and J.G. Jones

Reprints: 100 Bullets #20-30

Synopsis: An organization rules from the shadows and has been in power for centuries.  They are simply known as "The Trust" and once upon a time the Minutemen kept them in line ensuring no one family gained too much control.  All of that changed one night when The Trust ordered the Minutemen destroyed.

  • The Mimic - Shepard meets with a young man named Benito whose father is a powerful member of The Trust.  It's apparent Shepard walks a fine line between The Trust and Agent Graves, but what is his motivation?  The young man is dissatisfied with his father and we are left to question - does Graves have an ally?
  • Sell Fish & Out to Sea - We meet a smackhead named Jack who has a briefcase filled with a gun and one hundred untraceable bullets.  He tells his story to another smackhead buddy after they score some dope.  Jack was a bouncer at a rock club, but loses his job one night.  He's down on his luck and has issues with addiction - drinking leads to drugs in a neverending spiral down the toilet.  The briefcase from Agent Graves just made things worse.  Apparently Jack is linked to The Trust somehow.  Is he another piece of the puzzle or just Agent Graves getting revenge?
  • My favorite cover yet by Johnson
  • Red Prince Blues - Hank has a gambling problem and a sick wife at home with big medical bills.  He just needs to score one righteous pot to save the day, but his luck never seems to hit.  One night he loses a crucial pot to a young man named Benito and swears revenge.  The Trust has a meeting in Atlantic City - the site where the Minutemen were supposedly killed.  Agent Graves plans to take a swipe at them, but will Hank foul up his plans with his attempt at revenge on Benito?
  • Mr. Branch & the Family Tree - Branch takes a French whore home and tells her the secrets of The Trust, Mintuemen, and Graves because she doesn't speak English.  We get an artist jam issue with pinups and recaps of all the characters thus far.
  • Idol Chatter - Agent Graves runs int an old man who once received a briefcase.  The tale is told about a famous ballplayer who married a movie star actress, but she died of an overdose of pills.  She was coveted by a president and foul play was involved.  The ballplayer gets a briefcase and takes a shot at a certain president in Dallas.  The rest is one of the biggest secrets and cover ups in history.
  • Contrabandolero - Wylie lives in a fly-blown town just north of the border from Juarez.  Nothing happens in town except drinkin' down at the bar with his two loser buddies Hopper and Doctor Dan. Things change for the worse when Shepard and Dizzy roll into town along with a bad news job Wylie gets roped into.  Now he's got to run something the wrong way across the border or die trying.  

Pros: Great writing by Azzarello, very nice art by Risso, covers by Johnson continue to be interesting, nice set of stories as the conspiracy and players are added upon, less emphasis on the high-concept briefcase deal with Graves, some welcome nudity, humor too!

Cons: Benito seems like a whiny brat, would expect The Trust to take care of any loose ends i.e. Graves, Graves seems to have too much autonomy and room to move around, Idol Chatter story is a bit of a reach (mildly entertaining nonetheless)
Wylie gets into some major trouble

Mike Tells It Straight: The largest collection yet of 100 Bullets stories and it's a good read.  Azzarello builds his crime noir/conspiracy theory tale and introduces more characters.  We get a good look at The Trust - the ultimate enemy of the Minutemen and Graves.  The artist jam issue was decent and had a lot of good pinups with bios to catch us up on the players.

Risso's art remains highly competent - reminds me of a cross between Frank Miller (heavy shadows especially in #24) and John McCrea (from Hitman).

Overall a nice read and if you've made it this far then you might as well keep going to the end of the series.  This series is a progression and you'll need to read the previous collections in order to fully appreciate/understand the story.  I like the characters Azzarello and Risso have created and want to know what happens to them.  It's gonna be a wild ride and I can guaranty a not so pretty ending.

TO BUY and Recommendations: