Thursday, October 26, 2006

100 Bullets Offers 1 More Chance

Any one that interacts with teenage males 16-17 of age know that there is a sub group of this agegroup that is not going to read whats on the best seller list, they are not interested in Harry Potter, and can't figure out James Patterson. They could careles about reading to learn and don't want read about discovering their feelings, for them excitement is hours upon hours of Grand Theft Auto Vice City on their PS2 they own in their DVD collection Season 2 of the Dave Chapelle show, knows all of the lyrics to 50 cent and the Game, and their wardrobe boast at least 5 Scar Face oversize Tees (God help you). For this group of angels I recommend
100 BULLETS is arguably the finest collaborative comic book this medium has produced in decades, weaving such themes as fatherhood, baseball and organized crime into a series of poignant tales as dark in their humor as they are gut-wrenching in their pathos. They are the stories of haunted, marginalized people who slip through life on sheer inertia, until their destinies are irrevocably changed by a man known only as Agent Graves. A cross between the archangel Gabriel and an old-fashioned G-man, the ghostlike Graves comes into their lives with a powerful handgun and 100 untraceable bullets. His offer? Opportunity. The opportunity to exact vengeance - or the opportunity to make amends. It is the dichotomy between these two choices which makes 100 BULLETS so engaging. While the untraceable bullets offer immunity from the law, the characters find that they cannot shield themselves from the moral consequences of their actions.”

The Premise

The plot of 100 Bullets hinges on the question of whether people would take the chance to get away with revenge. Occasionally in a given story arc, the mysterious Agent Graves approaches someone who has been wronged in some way, and gives them the chance to set things right in the form of a nondescript attaché case containing a handgun, 100 bullets, the identity of the person who ruined their life and irrefutable evidence of this. He informs the candidate that the bullets are completely untraceable, and any police agency that recovers these bullets as part of an investigation will, through some unexplained process, immediately drop that investigation and ignore any transgressions related to it.

Though all of the murders enabled by Agent Graves are presented as justifiable, the candidates are neither rewarded nor punished for taking up the offer, and appear to receive nothing other than closure for their actions. Several people have declined the offer.

It is revealed that Agent Graves was the leader of a group known as "The Minutemen", the enforcers and assassins for the shadowy organization known as "The Trust". The Trust was originally formed by the heads of 13 powerful European aristocratic families who offered to the kings of Europe to abandon the "Old World", where they had considerable influence and holdings, in exchange for complete autonomy in the still unclaimed portion of the "New World". When this agreement was broken by England's colonization of Roanoke Island late in the 16th century, the Minutemen were formed. The original Minutemen, seven vicious killers, eradicated the colony and left behind the message "Croatoa" as a warning. Since that time, the Minutemen's charge has been to protect the 13 Trust families from outside threats as well as from each other. They were betrayed by the Trust and disbanded after Agent Graves refused to re-enact "The Greatest Crime in the History of Mankind". Some of the former Minutemen had their memories wiped for their protection and were living normal, if lackluster, lives at the beginning of the story.

Many of those who are offered the chance for vengeance by Graves are actually former Minutemen, or people who have been wronged by the Trust or its agents. Trusting to luck and the importance of his "experiment", Agent Graves goes on to reactivate several former Minutemen and recruit potential new members during the course of the series, with the tentative help of the Trust's warlord, the shady and double-dealing Mr. Shepherd.

Bottom line 100 Bullets is a morality play and it makes its reader think, and it makes their brain work, ( which probably more than they do around the house) but once they start reading they will be hooked and that's a good thing

There are currently ten trade paperbacks in publication for this series. The titles of the trade paperbacks all seem to be somehow related with their volume number ("First Shot", "Second Chance", "Foregone", "Counterfifth", "Six Feet", "Strychnine", "Decayed"), with two being indirect references ("Samurai" being book 7, for Seven Samurai, and book 8 titled "the Hard Way," a reference to a roll in craps), save for book 3, which was originally to be called "The Charm" - as in, 'third time's the...', but was given the title of the collection's largest plot arc, "Hang Up on the Hang Low," when it won the Eisner Award.

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