Thursday, March 7, 2013

100 Bullets Vol. 8 The Hard Way Trade Paperback Review

100 Bullets Vol. 8 - The Hard Way
DC Comics - Vertigo
Softcover Trade Paperback
224 pages
$14.99 (2005)
$49.99 (2012) Deluxe Edition Hardcover Vol. 3
ISBN 9781401204907

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

Reprints: 100 Bullets #50-58

Synopsis: A secret group called The Trust has ruled from the shadows for centuries and is made up of thirteen powerful families.  They employed a special team called the Minutemen to police the families from harming each other, but betrayed and tried to destroy them.  The Minutemen and their leader Agent Graves disappeared.  Now he's back and putting the old band back together in order to serve a reckoning on The Trust.

Graves gives Wylie a briefcase
Prey for Reign - A crew hides out in a bar after a heist.  Too bad one of their number got left behind and the deal can't happen without him.  Now they wait to see if he shows up and one of them tells a story.  He tells of a group of powerful men who form a trust to rule the new world of America many centuries ago.  This man has a tattoo of a cross on the back of his hand and he is one cool customer.  He was visited by a man with a briefcase a few days ago.

Wylie Runs the Voodoo Down - Wylie was living in a deadbeat town and working for peanuts at a gas station in the middle of nowhere.  His life sucked and he couldn't care less.  Then a man named Shepard and a girl named Dizzy appeared.  He ended up going on a trip with them to New Orleans.  An old guy named Agent Graves gives him a suitcase filled with an untraceable gun, one hundred untraceable bullets, and information on how his life became so miserable.

Seems like he had a history in New Orleans and vague memories keep coming back.  He was in love, but something happened to the girl.  Dizzy tags along while Wylie tries to drown his sorrows.  The bar where they're drinking has a gnarled little black man playing the best trumpet you've ever heard.

Wylie befriends Gabe the hunchback trumpet player
Wylie and Dizzy get some fresh air and witness two men kill a girl across the river.  The men see them and they hide out.  Wylie runs into an old friend who's still in the game.  Shepard visits one of the families of The Trust to talk about Graves' return.  Things get hairy as Wylie's memories keep coming back.  Why does he keep remembering Shepard?

Coda Smoke - Lono and Loop are in prison, but they're not tearing each other apart quite yet.  Lono receives a phone call from Shepard who has startling news.  It's a major turning point for Shepard, Dizzy, Wylie, Lono, and Loop.

Pros: Same great art by Risso that we've seen throughout the series, Johnson's covers are very great, big reveal of Wylie's past, lots of Dizzy (she's hot), the origin of The Trust, powerful emotions and visuals in Wylie's story, the series makes a major progression and things get shaken up

Cons: Azzarello's dialogue has a few duds - where he's trying too hard to be noir or sprinkles in some puns

Mike Tells It Straight: This eighth volume of 100 Bullets has the biggest reveals and most powerful emotions yet.  'Prey for Reign' was the 50th issue and gives us the origin of The Trust.  Wylie's story gives the origin of both Wylie and the Minutemen.  I must admit Wylie was one of my favorite characters because of his humble and care-less attitude.  It didn't hurt Dizzy was involved in his stories too and she's a beautiful girl.  Wylie's memories return and it spells trouble for everyone around him.  He was better off forgotten in the desert.  The final story 'Coda Smoke' is a sleeper which will surprise readers and fans of Shepard.
We see the Minutemen prior to their betrayal

Azzarello's writing continues to be top notch - both pacing and plot twists.  He seems to add puns into the dialogue to make it sound more 'noir', but this volume is a little less thick.  Risso is an amazing storyteller and his art is highly expressive.  Covers by Johnson keep getting better.

The usual disclaimer applies - this is the eighth volume of a series and readers should have some knowledge of the previous stories/characters in order to fully comprehend it.  The story was powerful and emotional.  We get a lot of questions answered and the plot progresses.  I'm really looking forward to the next volume as things are getting deadly!

TO BUY and Recommendations: