By Will Holden

Cold blooded killers

100 Bullets, written by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso, draws you into it’s murky underworld with the opening mystery of a man with a suitcase. This man, we later discover is called Agent Graves, delivers the suitcase to someone who has been wronged in some way, the contents include all the evidence of the wrongdoing and a gun with, you guessed it, 100 bullets. Agent Graves explains that these bullets are untraceable and there will be no repercussions for using them, however the choice remains that of the aggrieved.

It is through this process that we meet one of the first major characters of 100 Bullets, Isabelle “Dizzy” Cordova. Dizzy is presented with the suitcase and gun and given the poison edged opportunity of getting revenge on a pair of crooked cops who murdered her husband and child.

In the first series of issues we see this proposition made to several other people who have their own reasons for vengeance, these play out with varying results as the suitcase bearers make their own choices on how to use this unexpected gift.

As the plot evolves, Dizzy and some new-found compatriots are plunged into a world of international conspiracy and plotting, of high violence and low morals, of base revenge and world domination. This is a comic series which appears to make a sharp right turn from it’s starting point but the resulting tale it weaves keeps your jaw clenched and your bum squeaky for the duration. The plot is chock full of twists and turns and all of the characters are complicated people with differing motivations and alignments. As the reader you are constantly challenged when characters you love make horrendous decisions or characters you loathe take virtuous actions.

The art produced by Eduardo Risso is an incredible combination of deep shadows and soft background hues mixed with striking points of colour picking out elements within a scene and sharply contrasting black and white images. Many of the panels and images are drawn with soft edges, often only determinable by light catching the details of facial features or items within the frame. This all serves to maximise the feeling of mystery, the fact that, as the reader you don’t know everything and many details still remain unseen. This appears to be a dark world full of anticipated disaster, in this way the art and story compliment each other perfectly.

Published by Vertigo Comics in June 1999, the entire story has been completed and is available in many different formats. It is a story that stands alone and requires no previous knowledge of characters and setting, just start from #1 and work your way though. I would highly recommend this book to fans of crime fiction, high stakes conspiracy and incredible moody art.

5 untraceable bullets out of 5.

You can get your hands on a copy of 100 Bullets from any of these fantastic suppliers:

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