Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Saturday, May 13, 2006

100 Bullets Vol. 9: Strychnine Lives

I'm not going to do an in depth review of 100 Bullets V9, but i wanted to drop a few comments since i haven't mentioned 100B around here in a while (i'm reading it by the trades and not the flops so don't get to it very often).

It amazes that 100 bullets is still interesting to me after nine collections (nearly 70 issues).  But it is.


Azarello and Riso have proven experts in character development, slowly building a complex web of players and intermingling sub-plots that will make even the most concentrated reader's head spin.  The numerous sub-plots and character relationships in 100 Bullets are so detailed that i doubt there's a fan out there that could explain it all completely (hell, the depth here would make "Lost" creator/writer Damon Lindelof proud)...  but you know what?  that's a good thing. 

100 Bullets keeps you thinking about it's cast and storyline long after you put it down (and isn't that what truly GREAT comics do?).  This is def one of those books that gets me staring at the ceiling for a few minutes after each issue trying to digest/process exactly what's going on and how it relates to what's happened previously (or may happen in the future).

Ultimately 100 Bullets might just be THE best "mature" read on the stands today and Vol. 9 is no exception.  This collection is packed to the gills w/ hardcore sex, language, and violence (some of which will make even the hard-stomached cringe).  Hell, there's almost an entire issue here devoted to sado-masachistic psycho strongman Lono's brutal torture of a rival Trust house leader (complete with a startling "mental torture" revelation just before the death blow).   As gruesome as they are at times though, Azarello and Riso use their mature props well; typically to further develop characters and plot rather than JUST for shock value (though there is a good deal of that). 

If a comic series ever had "street cred", 100 Bullets would be it.

In the end, 100 Bullets is a book of villains and criminals.  There are no "good guys" to be found, and that's part of what keeps it interesting.  You never know what's going to happen next, and any character is seemingly capable of cooperating with and/or backstabbing any other.  You're never 100% sure what anyone's thinking or whose side they're really on. 

Make no mistake though, 100 Bullets is not all about it's characters (though the cast is obviously killer).  Azarello has put together one hell of a "larger than life" plot (complete w/ countless regularly unfolding sub-plots).  The simple (but timeless) idea of an underground ruling upper class of families (the Trust) and it's enforcement arm (the Minutemen) gone rogue, coupled w/ powder-keg inter-family strife and expert Azarello/Riso creative execution makes for one hell of a read.  B+

It was all over when...

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13 May, 2006 11:38, Blogger zilla said...

PS - yeah Lono chopped off the guys finger with a cigar cutter then smoked it in front of him (i mean it's not possible to smoke a blood-wet finger we know but one can only imagine the psychological effect). cool.

13 May, 2006 21:28, Anonymous cmoney said...

Can't wait for the day these are finished and I can sit down and re-read them straight through. As it is, some of the plot threads get tangled in my head, seeing as how the trades are spaced so far apart.

13 May, 2006 21:51, Blogger Rob H said...

I feel bad for saying this but I've lost interest. I picked up volume 6 two weeks ago and still can't bring myself to read it.

13 May, 2006 22:45, Blogger zilla said...

cmoney i'm with you man... i've had to consult the internet a couple of times to get back on track (since i'm reading this by trade like you are). the plot in 100 Bullets is madly winding at times and it's def hard to keep it and all the characters and their roles/relationships straight.

i'm not a dumbass (completely) but i have to be honest - i didn't feel totally comfortable w/ it all until i read this:

100 Bullets Synopsis

PS you'll recognize the original poster by name :)


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In no particular order:

Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

Blog contents copyright © 2005 Rod Wetsel