Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
You meet a strange man, Agent Graves, who clearly knows a lot more about you than you do about him. He tells you the exact person who ruined your life. Then he hands you a briefcase with a gun and 100 untraceable bullets and tells you to do whatever you want with them.
That's the premise of 100 Bullets. Volume 1 collects the first five issues of a comic book series that ultimately ran for - you guessed it - 100 issues. The first story, covered in the first three issues, follows Dizzy, recently released from prison. To her, Graves reveals the crooked cops who killed her family. The second features Lee, a down on his luck bartender who lost his family because pranking teenagers planted child porn on his hard drive. As the second story progresses, we get a broader sense of Graves's own motivations and they're not exactly selfless.
Morality gets complicated for the reader. To a point, one is inclined to root for Graves's chosen ones and against their targets. But of course, there's more to both stories than one originally assumes.
The series is certainly strong. Both writing and art are excellent. However, I have a gripe. Dizzy is Latina and her story is set in the inner city. Azzarello, a White man, attempts to incorporate the street vernacular of both Latinx and Black characters. It doesn't sit well with me when White people do that. Indeed, representation matters and so does realism. It just doesn't feel right.
So what's the answer, you ask? More people of color creating their own stories within the medium. Yes, there are people of color in the business - probably not enough of them and certainly not enough of them in positions of power to promote more representative stories. It's a worthy goal and the results are likely to be a lot less cringey.
That said, I'm up for more.