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Trading Up: 100 Bullets Vol.12 - "Dirty"

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I shouldn't have to tell anyone 100 Bullets is good. If this is the case for you, you either haven't read 100 Bullets yet, in which case you need to go to your local comic book store right now - do not read further just go and buy or order it - or you don't think 100 Bullets is any good, in which case you need you need to either drastically re-evaluate your standards or check in to a mental clinic, possibly both.

I shouldn't have to repeat how wonderfully dark Azzarello's portrayal of the lowest and nastiest edges of the human condition is, or how suited Risso's visual style is to the tone of the story. But in case you needed it, I just did. Dirty (the latest trade collection of the series) features more of the same, which you know and love. The same splendid Tarantino-esque storytelling and superbly spot-on art to match.

There is of course the pitfall of falling too much into the same old routine, but Azzarello avoids this neatly by showing us some new things, most importantly that the Minutemen aren't immortal. This was an impression one might have walked away with from the previous issues, with the only deaths of Minutemen caused by other Minutemen.

"Red Lions" shows us that even a Minuteman can die very stupidly. In the same issue we see a breaking of the typical comic book clichés that actions don't really have consequences and that side characters are dismissed after one or two issues. This, in combination with new threats being revealed, makes for a build-up to what promises to be a heart-pounding climax. It's obvious characters we've grown to love are going to die before the end (maybe some already do), and we don't know which ones.

Of course, this build-up is something of a mixed blessing. While it keeps things interesting to a point, one is left at the end with an ambiguous feeling. Everything is obviously leading up to the finale, but we're really none the wiser yet. There is added intrigue, and plenty of it present and one might be left to wonder if we'll see all of it resolved. This isn't necessary of course, a little mystery adds to a story, but the point is that one might be left feeling a little unsatisfied with all that intrigue and no resolution.

Of course, it's still 100 Bullets. It's vicious, it's dark, it's dirty and it's beautiful. You need to read it.

I might suggest simply purchasing the volume and keeping it on the shelf until the release of the final trade and you can read them both in one go, but if you're into the series, we both know you won't be able to bear that kind of a wait.

Of course, as I already pointed out at the start of this review: if you're already into the series why did you really need to read this review? 100 Bullets is awesome in every sense of the word. So you either have one or several volumes to buy. Go out and get to it.

100 Bullets Volume 12: Dirty is out now from DC/Vertigo Comics priced $12.99

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