100 Bullets Vol. 7: Samurai

July 26, 2004 | Trades


100 Bullets Vol. 7: Samurai
Brian Azzarello, Eduaro Risso
Vertigo/DC Comics
$12.95 US (paperback)
**** (out of five)

What you see is rarely what you get when it comes to 100 Bullets.
On the surface, Samurai, the seventh collection of this hard-edged, modern crime-noir comic, would appear to collect two very different and distinct storylines.
The first is clearly related to the overall plot and the other just another story of the choices people make when they are given a briefcase containing an untraceable gun, 100 bullets, the whole truth about why their lives are as messed up as they are and the name of who’s responsible.
But one thing you can expect after over four years and 50 issues of 100 Bullets is more twists and turns than a corkscrew.
A brief and woefully meager recap: mysterious Agents Graves and Shepherd are travelling around America as the former hands out the sinister briefcases in what seems to be an attempt to right wrongs, and the latter gathers up members of their former secret organization, The Minutemen, who have had their memories wiped. Often these missions overlap and mayhem ensues.
The first arc in Samurai revisits a previously introduced character, Loop Hughes, and finds him behind bars, trying to keep from being murdered by the leader of a gang. But when a former Minuteman turns up in the same lockup as Hughes, things really begin to heat up.
In Stinked, the second part of this collection, sees series writer Brian Azzarello change the rules of Graves’ game, as he gives a briefcase to a man named Jack Daw and explains that Jack is the cause of his own misfortune. Does it take 100 bullets to commit suicide?
Another classic twisted tale from Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso, a duo that are quickly becoming the go-to guys for that, In Stinked brings together the Mafia, a corrupt cop, a couple of heroin addicts and man-eating tigers in a tale that has to be read to be explained.
Samurai is brilliant and a terrific example of how Azzarello and Risso have done a masterful job of building a series that is both instantly gratifying and yet continues to build on a foundation of riddles and intrigue that will keep you coming back month after month — or collection after collection if you prefer.

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