Small victories on the comics front and a 100 Bullets rant

I’ve managed to take Hellblazer and 100 Bullets off my pull list. I know you’re all very happy for me. Seriously, they just weren’t enjoyable any more. I’m sure I’ll buy another Hellblazer before I die. I like the character too much, and he occasionally draws great aritsts and writers. But I need a break.

To assuage my guilt (at leaving Constantine? I must be crazy), I picked up the first four issues of Desolation Jones and an issue of Nextwave. Both are written by Warren Ellis, so I had a pretty good idea what I was in for. Jones was stronger, but then I had 4 issues to play with. I think Nextwave could become a guilty pleasure in a hurry, though.

While I’m thinking about Snakes on a Plane and good ideas gone bad, I think 100 Bullets was a good idea that’s execution hasn’t lived up to its promise. The idea is great pulp: some fellow steps out of the shadows with ironclad proof that the worst thing in your life wasn’t your fault, proof of whose fault it is, and a gun with 100 untracable – and I mean untracable – bullets in it – do what you will. As an author, you can’t lose. You get to tell a bunch of tense action-packed stories on that premise alone all the while stringing us along about who this shadow-lurking guy is, how he does this, and why. It’s a brilliant structure to hang a series on.
The execution hasn’t worked for me. The pacing is too slow. We got out of the short stories and into a maisma of conspiracies too quickly, and the conspiracies aren’t being resolved quickly enough. It doesn’t help that although the art is distinctive and stylish, it can be hard to tell the bad asses apart. With months between slow-moving arcs, it’s easy to forget who’s who.

I stopped buying at issue 75. Sandman was finished at 75, and it’s a sprawling series by any standard except Dave Sim’s. Preacher was also 75 issues, and IMHO was a nice size. There’s no sign of 100 Bullets coming to a head any time soon. I’m outta here. Execution matters.

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