100 Bullets

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100 Bullets

Cover to 100 Bullets vol. 1 "First Shot, Last Call". Cover art by Dave Johnson.
Publication information
Publisher Vertigo
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Crime
Publication date August 1999 – April 2009
Number of issues 100
Main character(s) Agent Graves
Mr. Shepherd
The Minutemen
Dizzy Cordova
Loop Hughes
Creative team
Writer(s) Brian Azzarello
Artist(s) Eduardo Risso
Dave Johnson
Colorist(s) Grant Goleash
Patricia Mulvihill
Creator(s) Brian Azzarello
Eduardo Risso
Collected editions
First Shot, Last Call ISBN 1-56389-645-1
Split Second Chance ISBN 1-56389-711-3

100 Bullets is an Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic book written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Eduardo Risso. It is published in the USA by DC Comics under its Vertigo imprint and is set to run for one hundred issues.[1]


[edit] Style

Both the writing and artwork in 100 Bullets exemplifies the noir and pulp genres. It presents morally ambiguous stories with dark realism. Consistent with noir convention, most of the characters are deeply flawed.[2]

Influenced stylistically by films such as Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects, Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight, and by authors like Elmore Leonard, Eddie Bunker, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.[citation needed]

[edit] Plot

The initial plot of 100 Bullets hinges on the question of whether people would take the chance to get away with revenge. Occasionally in a given story arc, the mysterious Agent Graves approaches someone who has been the victim of a terrible wrong, and gives them the chance to set things right in the form of a nondescript attaché case containing a handgun, 100 bullets, a photograph of a person, and irrefutable evidence that this person is primarily responsible for their woes. He informs the candidate that the bullets are completely untraceable: any police investigation that uncovers one of them will stop.

Though all of the murders enabled by Agent Graves are presented as justifiable, the candidates are neither rewarded nor punished for taking up the offer, and appear to receive nothing other than closure for their actions. Several people have declined the offer. This is later revealed to be only a minor part of a much wider story.

Agent Graves was the leader of a group known as "The Minutemen". Although somewhat related to the civilian riflemen who fought in the American Revolution, Graves' group were also the enforcers and assassins for the shadowy organization known as "The Trust". The Trust was originally formed by the heads of 13 powerful European aristocratic families who made an offer to the kings of Europe to abandon the "Old World", where they had considerable influence and holdings, in exchange for complete autonomy in the still unclaimed portion of the "New World".[1] When England ignored this proposition and colonized Roanoke Island late in the 16th century, the Minutemen were formed. The original Minutemen, seven vicious killers, eradicated the colony and left behind the message "Croatoa" as a warning. Since that time, the Minutemen's charge has been to protect the 13 Trust families, partly from outside threats, but primarily from each other. They were betrayed by the Trust and disbanded after Agent Graves refused to re-enact "The Greatest Crime in the History of Mankind". Some of the former Minutemen had their memories wiped for their protection and were living normal, if lackluster, lives at the beginning of the story.

Many of those who are offered the chance for vengeance by Graves are actually former Minutemen, or people who have been wronged by the Trust or its agents. Trusting to luck and the importance of his "experiment", Agent Graves goes on to reactivate several former Minutemen and recruit potential new members during the course of the series, with the tentative help of the Trust's warlord, the shady and double-dealing Mr. Shepherd.

[edit] Characters

[edit] Story arcs

[edit] Collected editions

There are currently thirteen trade paperbacks in publication for this series. The titles of the trade paperbacks all seem to be somehow related with their volume number (First Shot, Second Chance, Foregone, Counterfifth, Six Feet, Strychnine, Decayed), with four being indirect references (book 7 titled Samurai, for Seven Samurai; book 8 titled The Hard Way, a reference to a roll in craps; book 12 titled Dirty, as in The Dirty Dozen; book 13 titled Wilt, for basketball player Wilt Chamberlain, who wore the number 13 and was famous for scoring 100 points in a single game). Book 11 Once Upon a Crime is also a reference as "once" is Spanish for eleven. The exception to the rule is book 3, which was originally to be called The Charm — as in "third time's the charm" — but was given the title of the collection's largest plot arc, Hang Up on the Hang Low, when it won the Eisner Award.

# Title Publisher Year ISBN Reprints
1 First Shot, Last Call Vertigo ISBN 1563896451
2 Split Second Chance Vertigo ISBN 1563897113
3 Hang up on the Hang Low Vertigo ISBN 1563898551
4 A Foregone Tomorrow Vertigo ISBN 1563898276
5 The Counterfifth Detective Vertigo ISBN 1563899485
6 Six Feet Under The Gun Vertigo ISBN 1563899965
7 Samurai Vertigo ISBN 140120189X
8 The Hard Way Vertigo ISBN 1401204902
9 Strychnine Lives Vertigo ISBN 1401209289
10 Decayed Vertigo ISBN 140120998X
11 Once Upon a Crime Vertigo ISBN 1401213154
12 Dirty Vertigo ISBN 140121939X
13 Wilt Vertigo ISBN 1401222870

Note: The full title of all volumes listed here start with "100 Bullets: ".

[edit] Other media adaptations

Acclaim announced plans to release a video game based on 100 Bullets. However, following the collapse of Acclaim's publishing house, the game has essentially been cancelled. It was intended that the player would be either Cole Burns or Snow Falls (a completely original character) and play in a third person view. The plot was generally unknown, aside from a supposition that it followed the plot of the comic book.

D3Publishing has obtained the rights from Warner Bros. to publish a 100 Bullets game.[3] They intend to make a video game completely independent from Acclaim's aborted vision, but still heavily reliant on input and plotting from Brian Azzarello.[4]

[edit] Critical reception

The series has attracted critical acclaim from within and beyond the American comics industry,[5] as "very violent, dark and clever"[6] and "a series of compelling morality tales".[7]

[edit] Awards

The series won the 2002 Harvey Awards for Best Writer, Best Artist and Best Continuing Series, and the 2003 Harvey Award for Best Artist, as well as the 2001 Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story, and the 2002 and 2004 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series.[1]

[edit] See also

Other titles by the same team:

[edit] In popular culture

  • Taking Back Sunday named a song after the first set of dialogue, titled "What's It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?"

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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