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Book Review < Back

100 Bullets: Hang Up on the Hang Low (vol. 3)

Credits: Written by Brian Azzarello and Illustrated by Eduardo Risso
Publisher: Vertigo (DC)


The X-Files used to be stellar entertainment. Don't even pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

The more I read of 100 BULLETS, the more I am reminded of the golden age of The X-Files. There are a lot of parallels, after all: the sinister "above the law" power syndicate, the amoral Agent who oozes into the foreground revealing only as much information as we currently need to know, the sentient black eyeball oil...

Alas, there is no sentient black eyeball oil, but there is an over-arching conspiracy revealed in drips and drams. The big difference here is that while The X-Files clearly delineated "one-shot" episodes from "conspiracy" episodes, 100 BULLETS weaves the two together in a sophisticated storytelling roux. (Yeah, "roux." Roll with me here.)

The "one-shot" plotline of HANG UP ON THE HANG LOW centers on thug-for-hire Curtis Hughes and Loop, the son he abandoned as an infant, thematically linking fatherhood, honor and baseball. On the conspiracy side, we learn a touch more about the Minutemen, that Curtis Hughes was associated with them in some fashion, that Lono is more psychotic than previously suspected, and that Agent Graves could be the dictionary illustration for "Machiavellian."

Ordinarily, I'd leave off with that, but there's one more thing about this book that I feel compelled to mention: the colorist. I'm not the most visually oriented of persons and I regret that I seldom give the artists their due in these reviews. I don't recall ever even mentioning a colorist before, but the work Patricia Mulvihill did on this book absolutely floored me. I stopped reading a gripping tale for a moment so that I could flip back to the credits and see who was responsible. The colors are more than utilitarian, more than pretty - they underscore the tone and pacing of the book, which is as ideal a contribution as you can ask. As good as 100 BULLETS is, Mulvihill has made it better.

-- Kelly Sue DeConnick

Kelly Sue DeConnick relocated from Brooklyn, New York to Kansas City, MO, where she lives with her husband and artbomb.net colleague, Matt Fraction. Kelly Sue writes the English adaptations of several manga titles published by Tokyopop and Viz. She can be found on the web at kellysue.com.


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