100 Bullets

Author: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Titan Books
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84023 800 3
Available 23 August 2004

The escalating conflict between the Trust and its onetime soldier, Agent Graves, has claimed dozens of lives - but not all of them are dead. Casualties have also landed in prisons, both physical and mental, there to watch the days tick by as their wounds slowly scar over. Now, as the lines of this murky battlefield continue to shift, some of those captives are finding out that walls made of reinforced concrete or unbreakable addiction may keep them in, but they can't keep the war out - and neither can any number of untraceable bullets...

Samurai will really mess with your mind if you've no idea what the 100 Bullets series is all about. This is not an introductory graphic novel that will fill you in with what has gone before.

This collection features two stories (Chill in the Oven and In Stinked) both of which have their own merits. If Shakespeare were alive today he would have penned Chill in the Oven. It's a dark story, with a wicked sick sense of humour at its core. Set in a prison, the narrative unfolds in prison jargon and gangster talk. On first appearances this makes it incredibly difficult to follow, but once you get used to the grammar the dialogue is simple to understand.

In Stinked sees an illegal wild animal ring - where tiger's are bought and killed to be made in to rugs, their meat to be sold to butchers and their skeletons up for auction to the highest bidder - being uncovered.

Both stories feature Dawg as he fumbles his way through each personal hell. The artwork is a beauty to behold and the scripts are a master class in how to write for the comics industry.

I can't offer enough praise for this collection. The only disappointment is the fact that this has been given a run-of-the-mill treatment for it's graphic novel release. This is not a run-of-the-mill collection and should have been presented with a little more care.

Ray Thompson

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