It’s inevitable that the human spirit feels guilt, tho the question must be posed after reading 100 Bullets: does Agent Graves feel guilt over his complicitness in the revenge he offers to the seedy characters in this gripping crime mystery?
Graves starts off a shadowy figure–an allure of temptation that only Satan could dream up. His forbidden fruit is a briefcase. Inside is a handgun with a untracebale bullets and proof of a crime and a picture of the person who committed it. Take it, it’s yours. Do you follow the temptation to it’s vilest conclusion?
Our first foray into the world of 100 Bullets is thru Dizzy, a sexy latina woman who has just been released from prison. On a train home she reminisces about her lost husband Hector and her child, who were, according to her own memory, killed in a drive by shooting by a gang led by a man named Lord. At least that’s what she believes up until Graves sits next to her and offers her the tool of justice along with evidence that her family’s murders were in fact committed by 2 white cops. From there her inner turmoil begins as she confronts her past and accepts that she must kill those who have hurt her.
What hooks us into this world at first is all superficial aesthetic–100 Bullets opens with a naked woman in a shower. her body is voluptuous and exaggerated only in a way a comic book artist can draw. Brian Risso portrays women with low cut shirts and unusually bent bent over, their thongs showing and their lips impossibly full. No doubt this aesthetic device will make many feminists skin crawl, begging the question of whether such a hyper-sexualized depiction is even warranted. but don’t let let social justice fool you.
Brian Azzarello has written a world aimed for thugs and thieves, pimps and prostitutes. This comic comes out of an inner-city where crime runs rampant and where no man can be trusted. That women are seen as sex objects isn’t a tantalizing allure, it’s a reality of the mindset of the people who sin all too well.
Which only leads us back to the mysterious Agent Graves. Who is he and why does he offer his magic gun? And how does he know what he does in the first place?
As we read thru this first of 5 volumes, bits and pieces are slowly revealed. We learn there’s an organization called the “Minutemen”. A man named Agent Shepherd who works for Graves, and has connections between characters that is now always apparent thru an initial read. Out of the riddle solving that we must endure we’re left to piece together the clues to a story that is all artifice and yet hinting at something deeper: If revenge is what we seek, are we ready to deal with what comes out of that perverted notion of justice?
For the men and women facing that very same dilemma in this comic, the answer is all too clear. Now the question is whether Agen Graves is ready to deal with his own demons?