First Shot, Last Call.

April 15th, 2009 by | Tags: , , ,

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets #100 drops today, and it’s the end of the series. I’m planning on picking my copy after work.

I’m kind of sad about it, but a different kind of sad than I was when I finished the first issue of Flash: Rebirth. Rebirth was a signal that the DC Universe is moving in a direction that is pointedly Not For Me. The end of 100 Bullets is the end of a series that was definitely, 100%, absolutely aimed directly at my temple.

100 Bullets started before I got back into comics, and to be honest, I’m not sure exactly when I started it. I think it’s Thomas Wilde’s fault, and skimming covers and wracking my brain leads me to believe that I began picking it up regularly during the Chill in the Oven arc, mid-2003. I know that I read the first arc, then Counterfifth Detective, and then started over again from the beginning.

Since then, I’ve bought every issue and every trade, something I rarely do. Double-dipping is a sucker’s move, but I dig the series enough that I didn’t mind paying twice. While looking over the covers, I was struck with memories ofa series of moments from the series. The Saddest Thing in the NOLA arc, Cole’s one-shot, the peckerwood joke in Chill in the Oven, the history lesson in issue 50, Lono and Loop’s discussion of the d-spot, Victor Ray indulging himself on a mission by doing the Frank Castle thing, Graves losing it when someone important dies, Dizzy’s ascendance, Lono’s look as he realizes that he killed a friend, the teenage pregnancy drama that plays a background role to Graves telling a mother exactly why her daughter died, Remi Rome going from amazing character to my most hated and back around again, the way that Loop’s dad was Mr. Hughes to the Minutemen, never ‘Curtis.’ Dave Johnson’s amazing covers.

These are just moments in the series. The moments build to the story arcs. Dizzy going from hood rat to high class. Loop learning how to be a man via Graves’ guilt over how Loop’s father was treated. The reconnection and dissolution of the Minutemen once again. The fall of the Trust.

It’s a series I’m very fond of, and was hands-down the best comic of the week each and every time. It’s one that rewards repeat readings, and even readings where you skip all of the words and just take in Eduardo Risso’s art. It made me a believer in Vertigo in a way that Sandman and the rest of the boring fantasy books that’d previously made up the bulk of Vertigo didn’t.

100 Bullets was, for me, a Thing. It’s the only comic I’ve bought for six years straight, month-in, month-out. It was my only mainstay, and now it’s gone. I think the comics world will be poorer without it. I can’t think of a comic I’ve enjoyed as consistently as 100 Bullets. I can’t even think of a creator who’s delivered as consistently as Azz and Risso have.

100 Bullets is The Symphony. It’s talented creators dropping in, doing some amazing work, and dropping out, leaving the track, or the genre, or the industry, or their peers, a drooling and shuddering mess. It’s Wu-Tang Forever, with RZA’s arrogant insistence at the end of Bells of War, halfway through Disc Two, that Wu-Tang Forever is so ahead of its time that “niggas ain’t gonna figure it out til the year Two-G.” It’s Raekwon on The Closing on the same record, explaining that he looks at other emcees and realizes that they’re going to stay garbage because they don’t know any better.

Azzarello and Risso’s 100 Bullets is a challenge. It’s saying, “Look, we did this. This is us. Ante up.”

I’ll be sorry to see it go. I keep thinking that I want to do this big, bang-up, blow-the-doors-off outrospective, but I don’t even know if I know where to start or if I even should. Luckily, Tucker’s got an Off the Shelf for us, and I hope to see Matthew Brady writing about it, too. I really enjoyed his Monster series, though I don’t think I ever remembered to link to it, and I know he’s a fan. I’m curious to see what kind of send-off the best comic book to come out of Time Warner will receive.

100 Bullets is 13 volumes, and pretty cheap on Amazon. You can catch each volume for around ten bucks new, less from a third-party seller. In fact, the first book’s like five bucks right now. Links below. If you haven’t started, you should. I’m not at all exaggerating when I say that it’s easily my favorite comic, and one of the most rewarding I’ve ever picked up. Click here to look at the entire 100 Bullets catalog on Amazon.

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15 comments to “First Shot, Last Call.”

  1. One of my friends who I didn’t even realize read comics got me interested in 100 Bullets, and for that I’m ever thankful. Until that point I had only read superhero comics, so to see how much I enjoyed a noir comic was pleasantly surprising. Once the last group of issues is released in trade I think I’m going to pick them all up in 1 fell swoop. Completely worth it.

  2. I think they will be coming out with oversize hardcover editions next year, each collecting two trades worth of issues like they are doing with Y: The Last Man, Preacher & Fables.

  3. all I gotta say is, what an ending Azzarello. what an ending

  4. Damn. Didn’t see it playing out that way…

  5. I liked the way Loop’s story ended.

  6. also kudos on linking the Monster article. truly enjoyed that manga, though I’m in the camp that things 20thCB was better, but they are pretty god damn close.

  7. […] David Brothers, in considering the end of 100 Bullets, sees Flash: Rebirth as “a signal that the DC Universe is moving in a direction that is […]

  8. David, cool write-up, I like the personalized approach, what the title meant to you, etc. Just curious – do you read Scalped? It feels to me like it could be the inheritor of my personal Vertigo flagship mantle, that and DMZ. I really liked all three, was a power triumvirate for a bit, 100B, Scalped, and DMZ.

  9. I’ve read Scalped, and it’s okay. I read it in trades, mainly. I wish the coloring was better, because it’s basically dreary Vertigo brown, but the story is pretty decent. I don’t know that it’s as good as 100B, but I certainly don’t hate it.

    DMZ I used to read, but it fell off for me a few arcs back. I dunno. It stopped clicking. The first two or three arcs (books?) are pretty good, though.

  10. just a quick question, does anyone know why the 13th TPB is being called “Wilt”? aside from #3, all of the TPB have fit into a numerical theme.

  11. Wilt’s in reference to Wilt Chamberlain… jersey number 13. 🙂

  12. very clever Mr. Azzarello. 🙂

  13. http://forums.comicbookresources.com/showpost.php?p=8795911&postcount=3


  14. […] get too into it ’cause A.) I don’t have the stones to do the series justice and B.) There. Are. Much. Better. People. Writing about this and what it meant to them, so I’ll just end […]

  15. Thanks for the link, David. I do love 100 Bullets, and I’ve done a few posts about it; you might have seen the character map I did, where I tried to map out all the relationships between the various characters. I read the series in trades, so I’m trying to avoid spoilers as best I can until the last volume comes out. But when it does, I’ll be all over it. Damn, what a series.