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100 Bullets

(Words by Brian Azzarello, art by Eduardo Russo Published monthly by Vertigo/DC)

If there were someone who you really wanted out of your life, would you go so far as to shoot them dead? What if you knew that you could get away with it, and that even if people knew what you'd done, the law would never punish you? If someone gave you a gun and a round of bullets and promised you that you could get away with murder -- would you do it?

Such is the premise behind Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Russo's (the team behind 1998's Johnny Double) new monthly series, 100 Bullets. In the first story-arc, we meet Dizzy, a young widow. Just out of prison for being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong gang, Dizzy is convinced that the deaths of her son and husband in a drive-by shooting are her punishment for associating with the Chicano gangs in her neighbourhood. Meeting the mysterious Agent Graves does little to change her mind, even after he tells her the names of the two men responsible, and then hands her the gun and ammo, along with the aforementioned promise. Should she kill these two men who took away all her happiness and hope for the future? Or should she get herself out of the neighbourhood that's dragging everybody into the gutter? Either way, it would be a fresh start, of sorts. The idea of perfect revenge is an interesting one to tackle, because of course, nothing in this life is ever perfect. Even if you could get away with murder, could you live with yourself afterwards? This is the dilemma that Dizzy wrestles with for three issues.

Although the gang scenes in this comic seem almost clichéd, Azzarello fleshes out his characters so that they become more than two-dimensional. The whole mood of the comic feels cinematic, which is set off by Eduardo Russo's dramatic layouts. The colouring is dank and grimy, bringing the rotten streets of Dizzy's neighbourhood right off the page. Dialogue is written phonetically, helping to make the characters more than just images on the page, and the whole effort combines to make for effective storytelling.

This is a promising start to a continuous monthly comic that I hope will continue in the same vein, and not go the way of Vertigo's last attempt at a monthly, The Minx, which was cancelled after only eight issues. However, this time around I think they've managed to get something that already has a longer shelf-life, and by breaking it up into self-contained story-arcs, they might be onto a winner.

Anna Jellinek

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