Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Reader's Diary #1272- Brian Azzarello (writer), Eduardo Risso (artist): 100 Bullets / First Shot, Last Call

If premises were everything, Jodi Picoult would have won a Pulitzer by now. So, despite how intrigued I was with the premise of Brian Azzarello's 100 Bullets series, it didn't necessarily mean I'd be gaga over the follow-through. So far, however, sooooo good.

The premise: a stranger shows up and offers various people a chance to get away with murder. He gives them a gun and 100 rounds of ammunition, plus assurances that law enforcement who recover said bullets from a body will cease investigation.

If the back cover is to be believed, this is meant to provoke ethical dilemmas in its readers. "If a stranger offered you the chance to get away with murder... would you take it?" Of course you wouldn't. It's absurd and you wouldn't trust the stranger enough to even have an ethical dilemma in the first place.

That said, the characters in this first volume are in such a predicament where they either have to do it or have nothing to lose anyway and it's still intriguing and there are still ethical dilemmas. Is killing a bad guy okay? And this stranger: what's his deal? Evil or not? How is he so well connected in the law-enforcement world? What if the guns get in the wrong hands (assuming there even are "right" hands)? The people in this book have only a few enemies at best, so why 100 bullets?

I also love the characterizations. Granted, a lot is spent in the world of Latino gangs and I don't have a way to judge that for authenticity. It was awesomely interesting and it felt real at the very least. That said, I've been embarrassingly inaccurate judging authenticity of other cultures before, so I can't say for sure if Azzarello paints a realistic picture (their vocabulaly, style, and so on) of Latino gangs or not.

Added to the fantastic storytelling is Risso's superb art. He uses a lot of negative space and the effect gives rich shadows and an aesthetic that wonderfully complements the dark, sometimes noir, tales.

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