Title: 100 Bullets Omnibus (Vol. 1).
Writer(s): Brian Azzarello.
Artist(s): Eduardo Risso.
Colourist(s): Patricia Mulvihill & Grant Goleash.
Letterer(s): Clem Robbins.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Omnibus.
Release Date: March 5th 2021.
Genre(s): Comics, Mystery.
My Overall Rating:
Vengeance. An age-old concept where emotions dominate over reason, where violence seems to be the only logical behaviour to adapt for those blinded by rage towards the fate they were given. Many contemplate the idea but never act upon it, judging the consequences far too devastating not only to the one who’s receiving the violent end but to themselves as well. Only a few find (or create) the opportunity and find the means to complete the circle and the law remains the only true barrier that keeps these countless victims from taking it into their own hands. But what would one do if they were granted the chance to wreak vengeance on those who brought them pain, without a single form of consequence for their action? Published from June 1999 to April 2009 in exactly 100 issues, legendary writer Brian Azzarello teamed up with acclaimed artist Eduardo Risso to deliver a Vertigo crime series like none other that explores morality plights where individuals are invited to contemplate vengeance and bury themselves following an act they could never undo.
What is 100 Bullets Omnibus (Vol. 1) about? The story is set in a world not much different than ours where individuals of all colours live to embrace happiness, success, and tragedy. However, one man, known as Agent Graves, goes around finding individuals who have lived through a terrible wrong in their life, something that they’ve had to keep close to their hearts forever but had no true closure about. What he offers them is an opportunity like nothing they’ve seen before, one that is free of any legal repercussions, and it takes on the form of a suitcase containing a handgun, a hundred bullets, and documents pertaining to the sole person who is the source of the wrong they’ve been the victim of. Promising complete immunity for its use, no repercussions in any form whatsoever to their being, the only question that remains is if they’ll pull the trigger or not. But who is this Agent Graves and why is he doing this for these people?
This first of two omnibuses contains issues #1-58 of the critically acclaimed crime series, the “Merry Christmas, Bitches” short story from Vertigo: Winter’s Edge, and a special sketchbook section from artist Eduardo Risso.
“Also in the attaché is a gun, and one-hundred rounds of ammunition. All untraceable, all yours. Do with it as you see fit. If you act on this information, you will have carte blanche.”— Brian Azzarello
What first seemed like an episodic series, continuously introducing new terribly flawed characters from various corners of life with each issue then transformed and sleekly evolves and exposes the intricate webbing hidden between the lines. Connections are made, secrets are revealed, and the plot is unraveled: something far more complex is at play. Set in a gritty and gruesome world, every character comes with their own set of emotional baggage that gives writer Brian Azzarello the perfect guinea pig to work with. This allows him to explore the complexity of negative emotions, ranging from sadness to hate, to expose the myriad of facets to vengeance, and to develop the grim, dark, and clever motivations of these characters. While the story takes it time to eventually hint towards a much larger scheme at play, it most importantly delves into the ethical and moral choices that a person has to make in their life when confronting with a golden opportunity to carry out their most profound desire, especially that pertaining to vengeance or redemption.
Never missing an opportunity to build upon the tragically beautiful cast of multilayered characters, writer Brian Azzarello also sees his ideas stylishly portrayed by artist Eduardo Risso. In this series, there’s no doubt that the artwork is an acquired taste, one that will either grow on you according to your investment in the storyline or die on sight. His artistic vision is unforgiving and focuses on character traits, emotional states, and questionable behaviours, rarely ever dwelling on environmental details. He also fully maximizes the space, using the traditional gutter (space between panels) to his advantage and never limiting himself to conventional panel structures. The colourists also heavily play with warmer colours while also accentuating shadows more often than not, giving the overall series its unquestionable crime noir style. It’s also difficult not to appreciate the poignant nature of his artwork that always leaves you uncomfortable yet inquisitive. After all, that is what will keep readers hooked and craving answers.
100 Bullets Omnibus (Vol. 1) is a charmingly provocative, mysteriously puzzling yet conceptually riveting crime series that explores morally ambiguous grounds through engrossing characters.