Recall Reviews – Vertigo’s 100 Bullets #31-42 & Marvel’s Hawkeye #22 (Finale)!

Welcome to Recall Reviews, the column that features a selection of last week’s comics and yesteryear’s classic series!

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First up, I’ll be talking about one of my favorite series of all time, 100 Bullets. This article will focus on issues #31-42, with the rest of the series to follow in future articles. And down below, we’ll be taking a look at the finale to Hawkeye, what could arguably be one of Marvel’s most successful and most important series in recent years.

While I tried to avoid any major spoilers in my previous reviews (1-14, 15-30), we’re getting to a point in the series where that may become near impossible. I’ll try to avoid spoilers for the issues talked about below, but I may not be able to avoid talking about events from previous issues. So, if you haven’t read the series yet but did read my review of issues #1-30 and want to remain un-spoiled, now is a good time to go buy those books, scroll to the bottom of the page, and read what I have to say about last week’s title.

For those of you still here, let’s begin…

100 BULLETS Pt. 3 of 7 #31-42

Written by Brian Azzarello; Art by Eduardo Risso; Colors by Patricia Mulvihill; Covers by Dave Johnson

Issues #31-36 100 Bullets 31“The Counterfifth Detective”

Remember the bandaged patient Agent Graves visited briefly in issue #27? He’s back, furthering my statement that everything in this series is connected with great intent by the creators.

Of all the arcs in this series, this has got to be my favorite. Not for the story necessarily, but for the writing style. Gritty, classic crime noir, with so much word play it’s almost funny. But the tension between Milo Garrett, his case, his injury, and his unfolding history won’t have you laughing, but itching to turn the page.

Seemingly a stand-alone story, you start to realize that Milo Garrett isn’t just a random recipient of Graves’ attaché. As a private detective suffering from injuries after a car “accident”, Garrett visits a client’s office to collect his money, only to find him dead. He follows what leads he can, but when he picks up another case, begins to realize that everything is connected. While Garrett meets with his clients and leads, he is unaware that those involved in the case have a long, deep history with him. Too bad no one else knows it either.

If the word play isn’t enough for you classic-noir fans, the art certainly should be, especially what I’ll call the “scenery shots”, art focused more on surrounding than the character. Seeing Milo walking through the puddled streets of Los Angeles, I can practically hear the solo saxophone playing the backing track to his inner monologue.

I’ll leave it at that for now, because I feel this is one of the arcs that is best experienced firsthand. If you haven’t read any 100 Bullets and aren’t afraid of a couple small spoilers for previous stories, I would recommend picking this up first. If you’re sold, go back and read the rest of the series. If you aren’t, I don’t know what else would sell you.

Issues #37-42 “Six Feet Under The Gun”

These next six issues are all one-shot type stories, focusing on one central character each issue. Though read as one-shots, these stories help fill in the gaps about our protagonists’ history, future, and motives.

#37 – “On Accidental Purpose100 Bullets 37

Dizzy heads back to her old neighborhood to visit her friends and family. After seeing how things are pretty much the same, Dizzy starts to realize the life she could have had, and I can’t help but wonder if she’s not sure which she would prefer. Then, after finding out her mom was evicted and has no way of contacting her, Dizzy may begin to understand the consequences of her actions and her lifestyle. Sometimes it’s really true: you can’t go home again.

Since leading the first arc, I had always assumed that Dizzy would be at the focus of most storylines. Though she plays an important role, she’s hardly the center of our attention, given that at this point we really don’t know that much about her and what goes on in her head. Since she started working with Mr. Shepherd, she mostly does what she is told without question. In this issue, we get to see Dizzy be herself. And I’m not sure if she likes it.

#38 – “Cole Burns Slow Hand100 Bullets 38

Remember Cole’s almost-fiancé? Finally, a resolution! But this is not a happy moment for the young couple, as Cole learns that she has moved on and there is no going back. Meanwhile, a couple of amateurs attempt to rob a bar, when poor planning leads to poor judgement. Moral of this story: don’t mess with Cole Burns.

I always have a soft spot for “can’t go back again” love stories, and this one really hits the heart. In a way, it’s not Cole’s fault. When he wanted to get engaged, how did he know a trigger word would bring back memories and a personality that isn’t ready to settle down? But, he could have left things better with Sasha. Anyway. This is a deeper look at how Graves’ plans affect more than those directly involved. In his mission, there will be innocent casualties.

#39 – “Ambition’s Audition100 Bullets 39

Now we turn to Benito, who, as we’ve seen, has very little interest in the family business. In fact, he’s not very interested in anything except maybe pissing off his father, Augustus Medici, head of the Trust. However, when Augustus has business in Little Havana, Benito decides to tag along for laughs. But after an assassination attempt, perhaps Benito is more ready than he thinks.

Despite what we’ve seen in previous stories, where our perception of Mr. Medici has been as a cold, calculating, all-business type, we see now that his life as a father may not be perfect, but it’s not as bad as Benito might have you believe. He wants the best for his son, which could give us an insight into why he wants to change the Trust the way he does. It may be for himself, but it’s also for the future.

#40 – “Night of the Payday100 Bullets 40

Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned about Lono so far: he doesn’t mind killing people, in fact he sometimes even enjoys it; he likes money and cigars; and just generally has very questionable morals. Actually, he probably has none. He’s self-serving, unkind to anyone that’s useless to him, and generally does whatever he wants, regardless of how it will affect others.  But despite all that, if there is job to be done, he does it, no matter who is giving the orders. All of these traits and more are exemplified in this issue, but there is one more thing about Lono that even he doesn’t know: he can be played just like anyone else. Like many other characters we’ve seen so far, Lono is just another cog in this big conspiracy machine, no matter how tough he thinks he is. But don’t tell him that, he won’t take too kindly.

#41 – “A Crash100 Bullets 41

Right off the bat I knew I’d like this issue. Not only do we get a better look at Graves and his motivations, but it’s set in my hometown of Seattle! Graves meets the heads of three families in the Space Needle to talk about their thoughts on Medici’s plans and how it will affect them. They make an interesting offer, giving us a look into the potential future the Minutemen could have. Meanwhile, a young down-on-their-luck couple stumbles upon winning lottery numbers when the owner of those numbers dies in a car crash. The morality of taking the numbers becomes an issue between the two, until someone else intervenes.

There is a lesson that can be learned from both of these stories: Whether you try to do the right thing, or what you think is in your best interest, it could end up hurting you. For Graves, this lesson may come too late, further down the road.

#42 – “Point Off the Edge100 Bullets 42

Remember Wylie Times and when Shepherd and Dizzy paid him a visit? He’s back! This time, Graves has an opportunity for him. Soon, Wylie finds himself in a situation which leads to his…”release” from employment. He ends up leaving with Graves, where we get a new and frightening look at his plans for the future.

Altogether, this group of issues is a very important reminder of where the story is and where it’s going. Maybe an unusual way of going about it, but I’d argue that few things in this series, especially the creative team’s approach to storytelling, are “usual”.

That’s it for now, but 100 Bullets #43-58 will be up next week.

 

And now, from last week’s offerings…

Hawkeye #Hawkeye 2222

Written by Matt Fraction; Art and Cover by David Aja; Colors by Matt Hollingsworth

The wait is over. The battle is ending. The arrows are drawn and the band is getting back together! Sorry, a little over dramatic? NO!

The critically-acclaimed and award-winning series is coming to an end, and I’m bummed. Hawkeye was the first Marvel series I started reading on a regular basis. But while I’m sad, I’m also amazed to see the effects the series has had: it can be said that it was a game changer for the publisher. When the series launched after the success of the first Avengers movie, fans showed Marvel that they wanted more solo series based on “smaller characters”. Soon, titles like Captain Marvel came into similar popularity, Black Widow and more solo series followed, and Marvel shows no sign of stopping. Could an Unbeatable Squirrel Girl book exist today without Hawkeye paving the way and changing the mindset of readers to what a solo series could be? My guess is not likely, but who really knows.

You remember the last issue, right? A very special guest arrived just in the nick-of-time on the very last page? Well, he’s not the only one who’s back. Both Hawkeyes are in the house, and they’re pissed. The Tracksuit Mafia is making one final play for the apartment building and all hands are on deck. It’s an all-out brawl to the finish. There’s one particular moment, that if what appears to happen actually happened, Matt Fraction and I would no longer be on speaking terms. Not that we talk a lot now, but next time he comes to Emerald City ComiCon and I’m standing in line to get his autograph, very few, if any, words would be exchanged.

I digress. The finale is perfectly satisfying, the art is unparalleled, and the fact that the original creative team was together for the end is something every fan loves to see. We all know that along the way, sometimes creative teams can shift, but there’s nothing like finishing an epic run with the team you started with. It is my belief that the emotional impact of a finale like this is best experienced if you read it yourself. I know I would have been upset if I read any spoilers about it, which was not an easy feat, given that I didn’t read it until two days ago. If you’d like me to give you a full synopsis, you know where to find me online.

To the entire Hawkguy creative team: Congratulations, bro. Seriously.

 

Looking for more recommendations? Find me on Twitter @4ColorPhil

That’s it for now, see you next week!

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