W: Brian Azzarello
A: Eduardo Risso
DC/Vertigo Comics, 2000
Back when the initial issues came out, I bought #1; I did that with most first issues that came out at the time. I don’t remember if I ever read it or not then, but I recently was able to pick up the first 5 trades at a used book store. I realize now that I should have read the first issue and continued to purchase them.
The basis of the story is pretty simple. The mysterious Agent Graves finds people who have been wronged by others and gives them a chance for retrobution; they receive proof of the act needing revenge, a gun with 100 untraceable bullets, and immunity for what they do.
There are 2 arcs in the first trade: Dizzy Cordova and Lee Dolan.
Dizzy was recently released from prision for a crime she didn’t commit. Agent Graves offers her the chance to get back at the crooked cops who set her up. The cops killed her husband and infant in a drive by and had her framed for being part of it.
Dolan had kiddie porn put onto his computer, which got him time in jail and derailed his career; when Graves comes to him, he’s a washed up bartender. After the offer, he’s set to take down the woman who framed him.
Both stories question the morals of what they are planning on doing. While it seems like these stories would get repetitive for the full series, they don’t. While the arcs are short, they easily show the differences between the people wanting revenge; the flip side of this is they don’t get really deep into building the characters.
The art fits the noir style of the stories; it was dark, but not dark enough to hinder the story.
Since this is the first book of the series, there are definitely parts that were underwhelming; the good news is the book continues to get better with each arc.