Sunday, July 8, 2012

100 Bullets Vol. 5 The Counterfifth Detective Trade Paperback Review

100 Bullets Vol. 5 - The Counterfifth Detective
DC Comics - Vertigo
Softcover Trade Paperback
144 pages
$12.95 (2003)
ISBN 9781563899485

Contributors: Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Dave Johnson, Trish Mulvihill, Digital Chameleon, and Clem Robins

Reprints: 100 Bullets #31-36

Synopsis: Milo Garrett is having a bad day.  He's in the hospital after getting his face rearranged (complete with a head covered in bandages), is a hard-luck/hard-drinking private dick who got stiffed on his last job, and just had a visit from an old guy named Agent Graves.  Now he has a briefcase filled with evidence of the person who mucked up his life, an untraceable gun, one hundred untraceable bullets, and a guarantee he won't be prosecuted if he uses any of it.
I loved this showdown at a coffee shop
between Milo and Lono

Things might just be looking up as Milo heads over to the art dealer who double-crossed him.  Nix that, someone got to the art dealer first and put him six feet under.  Now Milo has to use his usually liquored-up detective skills to trace the faint leads of an art theft back to the parties involved.  One happens to be a rich blonde named Megan Dietrich with a penchant for high-stakes double-dealing.  Another is a gorgeous Italian named Echo Memoria.

Unfortunately the third is a bruiser named Lono with a permanent finger on the kill switch.  Something just doesn't feel right about the whole caper and Milo can't seem to piece it together.  Strange memories are surfacing and he begins to question his very identity.  What secret could be buried behind the bandages and will it be too late to figure it out?

Pros: Good plot and pacing by Azzarello, excellent art by Risso, good covers by Johnson, collection is one single story (instead of a string of smaller stories), offbeat crime noir story starring a hardboiled detective, plenty of drinking and sex, nudity, Milo is a boob man, great reveal on Milo's secret, complicated ending

Cons: Dialogue and narrative were riddled with puns and it got old a few issues into the storyline, slightly confusing ending (probably on purpose though)

Echo meets up with Milo after another
hospital stay (seems to be a habit)
Mike Tells It Straight: The fifth (get it, Counterfifth?) collection of 100 Bullets and we get another full length story (the last one was Vol. 3 Hang Up on the Hang Low which won an Eisner).  Azzarello gives us his take on a very standard crime noir story featuring a hardboiled detective.  The main character's head is covered in bandages (reminiscent of The Unknown Soldier also by DC Comics) and all of the narrative/dialogue was essentially one long pun.  This style felt gimmicky and slows down the story as the reader must pause to decipher the puns each few seconds.  I didn't like it after a few issues and it kept up until the very last panel.  Whatever Azzarello was trying to accomplish I hope he never does it again.

Risso's art was awesome and Johnson's covers interesting - a solid visual entry.  This collection is fifth in the series and readers need to have read the previous volumes to fully understand the story.  I've got to say this collection is probably my least favorite so far due to the puns and the fact the story really doesn't progress much in terms of Graves or The Trust.  It was a decent crime noir story, but nothing special this time.  I'm moving on to the next volume and giving this one a courtesy flush.

TO BUY and Recommendations: