April 15, 2008

My Newest Favorite Comic

First, I hope you're enjoying the new-yet familiar - layout of the blog. Most of what I did was minor tweaking - I miss having the "previous posts" signpost, but hopefully, a better reading experience will result. Oh, and I will, more than likely, resume with the Season 4 Who reviews either tomorrow or Thursday, but pledge to keep them spoiler free.

Any, I had alluded to this last time, but thanks to the local branch of the library, but I've been catching up on two series I missed before...and now, I'm kicking myself for not checking out 100 Bullets earlier.

This will seem like hyperbole - and it is - but, in its way, 100 Bullets does for comics what Lost and Battlestar Galactica are doing for serial drama - exploring uncharted territory and taking unusual (yet logical) twists in a slightly overused genre.

The book initially starts with a rather unique premise: we meet someone, usually in a great deal of trouble. He/she is met by the mysterious Agent Graves, who offers them a briefcase full of untraceable bullets, a gun, and key information. Basically, if the person decides to take revenge - and use the gun - they're essentially given a get-out-of-jail-free card (or an appropriate alternative). However, as the book progresses, it becomes even more intricate, with layer upon layer of plot. Imagine, if you will, Quentin Tarantino directing a Raymond Chandler script for The X-Files, and it kind of suggests the spirit (although, to be honest, it cheapens it at the same time).

Although much of the press has been about how this book deals with the theme of revenge, writer Brian Azzarello is much more clever than that. Intermixed with the main plot are some great explorations of character, some subtle, smaller themes...and this truly surprised me, since I felt Batman: Broken City didn't quite work. (It seemed more Travis Bickle than Bruce Wayne for my tastes - it was OK, just not great). In tandem with Eduardo Risso's art, Azzarello creates an entire world of move, counter move, and suspicion - I've always enjoyed good noir when it works, and here, it works on all cylinders.

Of course, now I'm playing catch-up with the series, since issue 90 will be at a comics store near me this week. (Thanks, Heidi!) But don't wait until your local library has the trades - DC/Vertigo allows you to download the first issue for free.

Then, work your way up to the trade.

This is the kind of book that, in a few years, will be seen as groundbreaking.

You heard it here first.

Highly Recommended.

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