Thursday, October 3, 2013

100 Bullets Vol. 12 Dirty Trade Paperback Review

100 Bullets Vol. 12 Dirty
DC Comics - Vertigo
128 pages
$12.99 (2008) Trade Paperback
$49.99 (2013) Deluxe Hardcover Vol. 5
ISBN 9781401219390

Contributors: Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Patricia Mulvihill, Clem Robins, and covers by Dave Johnson

Reprints: 100 Bullets #84-88

Synopsis: A secret group made up of thirteen powerful crime families has ruled from the shadows for centuries.  They call themselves The Trust and employed a special team, called the Minutemen, to maintain order among the families and ensure the success of their longstanding partnership.  Any family members who get out of line are swiftly dealt with by the Minutemen, but eventually The Trust decided they could police themselves and the Minutemen were redundant.  They disappeared and were thought dead along with their leader, Agent Graves.

Victor Ray does some dirty work
Now he has returned with a relentless agenda to restore the Minutemen and bring down The Trust.  He's known for testing people by giving them a briefcase containing one hundred untraceable bullets, an untraceable handgun, evidence of the person who has ruined their lives, and a guarantee no investigation will happen.  The rest is up to them.

The Lady Tonight - Sigmar Rhone is a powerful man who doesn't tolerate bullshit in his establishments.  When a wannabe 'gangsta' pop singer roughs up some of his customers then Sigmar's not too happy.  He just so happens to the head of a house in The Trust and knows how to deal with pests.  Agent Graves has stepped up his maneuvers against the heads of The Trust - can Sigmar's henchmen stand up to the Minutemen?  What new information is revealed about Augustus Medici, the man who wants to unify The Trust under one house?

Red Lions - Benito Medici is back in his father's house after spending time in Mexico with Wylie Times, Mr. Branch, and Dizzy Cordova.  The caper ended badly and Benito is still pissed his father has shacked up with Megan Dietrich, head of a house in The Trust and the same age as Benito.  He and Megan have always had a catty relationship where she thinks he's not man enough to run a house after his father, Augustus.  Now she's sleeping with Augustus and going along with his plan to unify The Trust.  When the three of them sit down for dinner sparks will fly!
The instructor for this women's self-defense group was brutally raped by
Lono in a previous issue.  Guess who shows up at her gym?
Meanwhile Lono and his crew of Loop Hughes and Jack Daw hit the gym.  Unfortunately a girl recognizes Lono as the man who raped her and killed her boyfriend.  She suffered emotionally ever since and plans to get her revenge  Will she be able to outsmart the brutally dangerous new warlord of The Trust?

Rain, In Vain - Graves keeps hitting members of The Trust and sends Victor Ray to get the job done.  He's an effective professional, but there's a personal job he wants to finish on the side.  A couple have committed an horrifying multiple-murder and kidnapped two kids.  Why is Victor Ray compelled to find them and what does he plan to do?
Two members of The Trust reminisce about
the late Sigmar's insatiable sexual appetite

The Blister - Remi Rome is sent to kill another head of The Trust, but meets with stiff resistance.  Can he pull off the job single-handedly?  His target has called back a retired killer and former Minuteman named Slaughter.  Send a devil to kill a devil, but what is Slaughter's connection to the current Minutemen lineup?

My Lonely Friend - Four friends are saying goodbye as one of them will soon head off to college.  Tragedy strikes seemingly at random, but that's the world we're living in.  Cole Burns takes Mr. Branch and meets up with Ronnie Rome to pick up the painting he was sent to Italy to procure.  Cole wants revenge against Remi, Ronnie's little brother, for killing a man he respected greatly.  Will he take it out on Ronnie?  Meanwhile Branch gets a visit from Echo Memoria who came back to the States with Ronnie.  What is her angle in all of this and can she be trusted?  Get ready for a shock ending!

Pros: Azzarello's writing remains compelling in this volume, Risso's art perfectly matches the story, Johnson's covers are solid and interesting, a lot of subtle events happen and are resolved, brutally violent

Cons: Complicated storylines with a lot of nods to past events (which readers may have forgotten), a couple stories are duds and didn't feel natural (like the Lono confrontation with his former rape victim)
Remi cuts loose

Mike Tells It Straight: 100 Bullets nears its inevitable conclusion and this series of one-shots ups the stakes as Graves begins to openly move against The Trust.  It's a complete bloodbath from start to finish as the body count rises.  Azzarello and Risso are perfectly in sync and show they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.  I felt the range of stories were slightly hit or miss, but enjoyed the overall plot's progression.

Readers must be familiar with all of the prior issues or be hopelessly lost.  I've read them all and was still struggling to connect all the dots.  I recommend having the prior issues/volumes handy to reach back and find the past stories for some of the returning (and obscure) characters/plotlines.  The last volume is going to be a page-turner and I can't wait!

TO BUY and Recommendations: