100 Bullets #95, by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
One of the odd things about this title is how hard it is to kill the main characters. I remember one time when one fellow was pumped full of bullets by some cops. "That's the last we'll be seeing of him", I thought, only for him to show up again some issues later, arriving into a jail. More recently, the scary lady character took a close-range shot straight into her chest, but it seems to have done nothing bar giving her a fetching scar. In this issue, we meet again a character who took part in an assassination attempt a couple of issues back. His strike failed, and the issue ended with an explosion taking off both his hands. I am not a medical expert, but I suspect that if a blast severed your hands then you would bleed to death in no time. But this issue finds him in hospital, sans hands, but not dead.
Beyond that, though, this is a great issue, cutting between the guy in hospital being visited by a friend while his estranged brother takes a taxi across town to see him. It all ends badly, with some astonishing coincidences lending events some neat ironic reversals.
I should mention the cover, by Dave Johnson. It is a striking piece of design, calling to mind avant garde 1950s film posters or those anarchist prints of buildings coming alive and attacking people.
Criminal #5, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
And this is another noir-influenced title. This issue is the second part of a four part story, seeing a newspaper cartoonist and retired forger being sucked into a worryingly suicidal caper by an archetypal femme fatale and her psychopath lover. You also get a bit of background on the cartoonist, who has previously been something of an extra in this title. As kind of expected, things take a grim turn in this issue, with signs suggesting that they will be getting worse. I can't but think that future episodes will stick to noir conventions by having the woman betray the cartoonist – she seems the type.
This comes with an interesting essay on the 1992 film One False Move, which I was fortunate enough to see in the cinema when it came out. This somewhat forgotten film is a classic dark thriller, playing on racial and urban-rural oppositions. I recommend seeking it out.
one false panda