Review by Frank Plowright
In his introduction to Decayed, Darwyn Cooke, then just about to start working on another great series of post-millennium crime graphic novels, Parker, makes an astute point about the art of Eduardo Risso. As accomplished as Risso’s scene setting is, he notes a further great strength is what he hints at behind the panel, the horrors that we’re not seeing.
That’s partially due to Risso’s mastery of light and shade. Unlike many other contemporary artists he works primarily with black, surrounding the cast with it, and scratching small details that build a larger whole. The horrors that at first we don’t see include the occupants of a car, who’s in a lift, what’s in the garage and who’s in the tattoo parlour.
Brian Azzarello’s also on prime form. He’s fine at dropping in that plot grenade, and a few detonate here, but he’s equally good at sneaking something by us in passing, and revelations in smaller moments. 100 Bullets is so good as a whole it’s easy to forget where the title originated. It’s been a long time since someone new was seen with one of Graves’ cases containing the one hundred untraceable bullets, yet, from comments made in previous books, this one’s been lying around for a while. We’ve also possibly forgotten that there’s another Minuteman as yet unseen. He’s introduced here.
Siblings are central to Decayed, two pairs are stretched to breaking point, and the title might also refer to another band who’re not what they once were. By the end of the book, though, the old gang is on the verge of getting together again, and we’ve taken another glimpse into the past.
Decayed, the previous Styrichnine Lives and the opening chapters of Once Upon A Crime, are all collected into the fourth oversize hardback 100 Bullets Deluxe Edition.