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100 BULLETS #50
Story: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso

If you've only been reading this book for a short time, as I have, you might wonder what makes this issue worth reading.

What we get here is an unremarkable heist-gone-wrong story where characters rush out into firefights at the slightest provocation, wrapped around a narrated story about a conspiracy that founded America and what really happened at Roanoke. It's mildly entertaining, especially if you dig conspiracy theories, and it's tightly written at the usual Azzarello level, but it's not a story that would reward the casual reader.

It doesn't reward the casual listeners in the story, either, who think they're just passing the time with a far-fetched yarn. But Victor, its spinner, is a member of the conspiracy he's describing.

Longtime readers are finally getting a big piece of the puzzle they've been chewing on since the very beginning of the series -- where did the eponymous bullets come from? Who is the organization behind the man who's providing them? And why is it all happening?

Some critics complain that the conspiracy element of this book gets in the way of Azzarello's anthology format and his more down-to-earth themes of crime, revenge, and human nature beyond good and evil. In some ways they're right; the two threads in this issue compete for
attention and neither has the space to be fully satisfying.

Yet it's hard to imagine them being told separately. The structure is fractal: the conspiracies on a small level (hunting tigers, murdering inmates, stealing diamonds) are imitating the conspiracy at a larger level.

Let's hope the revelations continue in the second half of the series. In the meantime, casual and dedicated readers alike can appreciate Risso's art, which is lively, sensuous, and strong-lined as always.


Andrew Simchik


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