Welcome to Recall Reviews, the column that features a selection of last week’s comics and yesteryear’s classic series!
First up, I’ll be talking about one of my favorite series of all time, 100 Bullets. This article will focus on issues #76-88, with the finale of the series coming next week. And down below, we’ll be taking a look at The Wicked + The Divine
#13, Justice League: Gods And Monsters – Wonder Woman
#1, and John Flood
But before we get started: did you hear the news?! The 100 Bullets movie project, originally planned as a TV show since 2011, is finally moving forward! While I feel it would have been better as a TV show due to its graphic novel formatting, obviously, I’m very excited about this.
While I tried to avoid any major spoilers in my previous reviews (1-14, 15-30, 31-42, 43-58, 59-75), we’re at the point in the series where that is 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 #1-75 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 titles.
For those of you still here, let’s begin…
100 BULLETS Pt. 6 of 7 #76-88
Written by Brian Azzarello; Art by Eduardo Risso; Colors by Patricia Mulvihill; Covers by Dave Johnson
Issues #76-79 “Punch Line”
Now that Remi has rejoined the Minutemen, Graves has just about everybody where he wants them. While he’s with Cole and Remi continuing his mission, Lono, Loop, Victor, and Jack are still making their way to him (and taking their sweet time, including one of my favorite interactions between Loop, Jack, and a swimming pool). But Wylie, Dizzy, Benito, and Mr. Branch are laying low in the desert, reluctant to join Graves and his merry crew.
Things get a little confusing in this arc as we’re shown flashbacks to just-before, leading up to, and during the events of Atlantic City. Some scenes are clearly set in the past, but a couple need close attention, otherwise you may ask youself, “How did they get here so fast?” When you see certain characters you’ll realize it’s a flashback, but it can take a few panels or pages to get there.
In one scene, Lono is talking with Megan Dietrich explaining that he’s taking a detour into Mexico. If you look closely, you’ll notice he makes no mention that he is with Loop, Jack, and Victor, and I don’t recall him mentioning it before. This possibly furthers my theory that Lono is working both sides, as the Trust’s Warlord and as a Minutemen.
When everyone does come together, things don’t go quite as Graves planned as Remi makes a preemptive and incorrect move. I won’t spoil it here, but let’s just say the number of Minutemen isn’t what it used to be…
Issue #80 “A Split Decision”
Tensions are high in the group as Victor interrogates Mr. Branch about his time with Wylie, Benito, and Dizzy, while Agent Graves has a long-awaited discussion with Dizzy. Obviously, she’s not very happy to see him, and while giving her the respect she deserves, he knows he has control over the situation. He makes no apology for what happened with Shepherd, and despite her ill will against Graves, Dizzy finally becomes what Shepherd had been training her to be: a Minuteman. They all knew this was coming, but given the groups obvious hostilities toward her in the recent past, it will be interesting to see their reactions to this fateful move. This issue also offers a closer insight into group dynamics, both past and present within the Minutemen.
Issues #81-83 “Tarantula”
This is another one of those arcs I felt could have been split into two, like issues #60-63 “Staring At The Son”. In one story, we saw Ronnie Rome in Italy attempting to buy the famed painting we’ve seen before. In the other, a flashback to Agent Graves and Curtis Hughes first meeting a young Joseph Shepherd. Both important stories, but I felt would be better told separately.
Seeing a young Shepherd gave us more insight into his former life, something we haven’t seen with every character, such as Graves or Lono. Again, important but not too exciting.
Issue #84 “The Lady Tonight”
The next few issues are kind of interesting, in that they are all separately titled but appear to be together in one continuous arc based on their respective plots. Each issue focuses on different characters just in between events that have been and events to come. Not everything is significant to the story, but the plot moves along to the impending finale.
In this issue, we meet another head of house, Mr. Sigmar Rhone. We quickly get a look at his personal and business life, as well as his private life. As he deals with an employee, we see how tough he can be and how he deals with public business. As he spends time with his family, we see a softer side, a loving husband and father taking care of his family. And in his private business, i.e. matters of the Trust, we see another side you might not suspect given his apparent family values. Suffice to say, events take a turn for the worst quickly, and Graves comes one step closer to his ultimate goal.
Issue #85 “Red Lions”
In this issue, Benito continues his young angst-filled tantrum against his father and Megan Dietrich. He makes a big speech about how the Trust is being run and that the events to come can only be blamed on themselves. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s tired of being young in his world full of adults and not having any responsibility, where everyone else around him has almost too much.
We also see an almost forgotten character take her redemption and accomplish something few people have; getting the better of Lono. Remember issue #19, “Epilogue for A Road Dog”? Lono pays an unexpected visit to Loop’s cousin Carlos, who is in from out of town, to reclaim what’s his. In the process though, claims a bit extra. He binds and rapes Carlos’ girlfriend, Sophie, then presumably kills Carlos.
In present day, Sophie teaches a self-defense class for women when she sees Lono walk into her gym. Lono soon finds himself in a vulnerable position when Sophie reveals herself and explains what she’s gone through at his hands. This is a very interesting event for several reasons: as I said earlier, Sophie hits Lono in a vulnerable position, which is not easy to do. We don’t often see the aftermath in someone’s life after a Minuteman passes through it, the only exception I can think of right now is Cole Burns’ almost fiancé. And finally, in that aftermath, Sophie got her redemption, in a way. She says that nothing will ever erase what happened as she lives with it every day, but she proves that she is better than Lono for not killing him. Bravo, Sophie.
Issue #86 “Rain In Vain”
Now we get to spend a little time with Victor Ray, as he recounts events that could shake up even the toughest of Minutemen. First, he finishes a Trust-related mission for Graves. Then, he carries out a job unrelated to anything in their mission, but fulfills his own sense of justice all at the same. A child has been kidnapped in a most brutal way after his mother was murdered, and Victor goes to retrieve him. A dark story, and while not very important to the overall arc, we’re offered a side of Victor we don’t see in the other characters: straying from the group, he pursues his own sense of right and wrong, and his means to carry it out. We know that not everyone in the Minutemen is happy with current events, but this is one of the first times we see that Victor a little rebellious towards Graves.
Issue #87 “The Blister”
In this issue, Remi has made an assassination attempt on another head of a Trust house, Joan D’Arcy, with no result except she knows they’re coming for her. He meets up with Graves and Dizzy, and nobody’s happy about it. With things not going Graves’ way lately, he angrily leaves the table, instructing Remi to finish the job.
Also, we meet a man named Mr. Slaughter. He’s a former Minuteman and present gun for hire with a family. D’Arcy wants to hire him to kill someone, as yet undisclosed. It’s interesting to see a former Minuteman who has set up a stable life for himself. We saw this a little in Curtis Hughes, but not to this scale. More on him in the future…
Issue #88 “My Lonely Friend”
As a defenseless and destiny-bound teenager is gunned down in the streets, Cole Burns has an important and opportune meeting in Atlantic City. While he leaves Mr. Branch by himself, he heads out to meet Ronnie Rome, who has returned from Italy with the painting. What follows pertains to events that happened in an earlier arc that I won’t spoil here, but let’s just say Cole isn’t too happy with Ronnie’s brother. Meanwhile, Mr. Branch is reunited with Echo Memoria (see issue #26), and that meeting doesn’t go too well either. All the pieces are falling into place, and Graves is almost ready to make his move.
That’s it for now, but the 100 Bullets finale is up next week!
And now from last week’s offerings…
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #13 – Written by Kieron Gillen; Art by Tula Lotay; Cover A by Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson, Cover B by Tula Lotay
Wow, that was some heavy stuff. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement and not inconsistent from the rest of the series, but always so good.
Tara’s problems with expressing her own art reminded me of Bob Dylan’s appearance at 1965’s Newport Folk Festival. Dylan decided to lead the show in a more electric/rock-based direction, as opposed to his usual folk-based performances, until a small but substantial portion of “folk purists” in the audience literally booed him off the stage after about three songs. Sometimes what an artist wants to express and what the audience expects to hear are two completely different things and can lead to career-changing consequences. Dylan was fine, obviously, but a fanbase’s ability to control what an artist does is often a frightening aspect of fame these days, as we see from Tara’s Twitter feed.
This was an interesting new angle for the series. We’ve seen the Gods’ fanbase get upset before, but this was on a much more personal level as people made direct threats to Tara’s safety and life for expressing her artistry. This is unfortunately all too real for many creators as they try to expand their horizons.
If I can leave with one message it’s this: fans should never control what an artist creates. It doesn’t matter if it’s music, movies, TV, or comic books, no fans should have that kind of control. If someone you like creates something you don’t like, express your feelings by not buying that thing. Feel free to express your critical opinion, but threats accomplish nothing but fear. </rant>
Lotay’s art is a beautiful compliment to this emotional and relevant story. This issue is now among the reasons The Wicked + The Divine is one of my favorite series today.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS – WONDER WOMAN #1 – Written by J.M. DeMatteis & Bruce Timm; Art by Rick Leonardi; Regular Cover by Jae Lee & June Chung, Variant cover by Darwyn Cooke
As we’ve seen in the previous JL: Gods and Monsters books, this is not a Wonder Woman we’re familiar with. Her name is Bekka, she’s from New Genesis, and she came to Earth in 1962 via Boom-Tube. While embracing her new life on Earth, she can’t seem to leave her old life behind. She goes back and forth between being peaceful and wanting to kill, unable to decide who she wants to be and how she can live her life on this world. By the end she appears to have found a middle ground, but not before almost taking some unbearable actions.
Not my favorite of the series so far, but still a solid story and adequate prequel material to lead to the bigger picture.
JOHN FLOOD #1 – Written by Justin Jordan; Art by Jorge Coelho; Colors by Tamra Bonvillain; Regular Cover by Jorge Coelho, Variant covers by Rob Guillory & Nick Pitarra w/ Jon Alderink
Going into this book, I did not know what to expect. I thought maybe a private detective who hasn’t slept in years might be a violent-crazy type. Then, a few pages in, I found it was not at all what I would have expected. While John Flood is the titular character, this first chapter mostly focuses on Alexander Berry, a (possibly former) cop with an as-of-yet unknown set of “powers”. He’s approached by Flood’s “assistant” with a job offer, and though we met Flood on the very first page, get a better sense of who he really is once Berry meets him. The art is also intriguing, as it stands out in certain panels, but is more subtle when only words are needed. This is an interesting and original take on the classic private eye-type story, and I’m certainly looking forward to more.
Looking for more recommendations? Find me on Twitter @4ColorPhil
That’s it for now, see you next week!
Tags: Recall Reviews