100 Bullets Vol 1: First Shot, Last Call by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso
Genre: Crime Fiction, Graphic Novel
Series: #1 in the 100 Bullets series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2000
The Short Version:
Moral dilemmas ensue when a mysterious man offers the opportunity for revenge.
Why I Read It:
An article in Crimespree magazine made me curious about this series.
This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-5 of the comic series.
From the publisher:
In this dark and intriguing trade paperback, the mysterious Agent Graves approaches ordinary citizens and gives them an opportunity to exact revenge on a person that has wronged them. Offering his clients an attaché case containing proof of the deed and a gun, he guarantees his “clients” full immunity for all of their actions, including murder. In these opening chapters, Dizzy Cordova, a Latina gangbanger who has just finished a prison sentence, is given the chance to avenge her family’s murders, and a downtrodden bartender receives the opportunity to exact revenge against the woman that ruined his life.
This is dark and atmospheric with nods to the artwork and style of pulp fiction mystery stories and magazines of the 30’s.
The idea of exacting revenge with no consequences is an intriguing one and is clearly a set up that leads to ethical and moral dilemmas for the people Agent Graves contacts. Obviously the question of what these people will do (or not do) and whether there really is such a thing as guilt-free revenge is a primary element of the stories in this and future volumes.
The other element in this is who the heck is Agent Graves and why and how is he doing this? In this first volume there are hints in the background artwork and I’m definitely curious enough to keep reading the series.
It’s pretty dark and violent and definitely not for kids. The first story is a bit cliché ridden and the latino street gang dialect comes off a bit overdone but the story is still a good one. The second story of the bartender opens the door for more mystery to come.
The final episode is actually pretty funny when a previous ‘client’ of Agent Graves attempts to confess her part in a murder.
It’s gritty, dark, violent and hearkens back to an earlier era of crime fiction and at this point I plan to keep reading.