The 100 Bullets writer-artist team of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have reunited for a rather different era of hardboiled crime. This time they find themselves in Prohibition-era America, telling a story about a hooch brewer and the New York gangsters who have unwisely decided that they want the booze.
The book focuses on Lou Pirlo, an alcoholic henchman sent to the Deep South to talk Hiram Holt into giving his boss a share of his hooch business. He soon finds himself embroiled in the violent actions of the Holt family, and hunted by the werewolf who stalks the woods.
The underbelly that Azzarello and Risso create here is suitably murky, with explosions of extreme violence depicted with a black and red palette. The sprawling cast of gangsters and members of the Holt family can be hard to keep track of, but Azzarello makes sure you have all the essential information when you need it.
Even five issues in, though, it’s still not entirely clear what’s going on. Lou’s alcoholic blackouts may or may not have a more monstrous explanation, someone’s definitely a werewolf, and there’s a psychic lady who can talk to the dead. Azzarello has a habit of throwing readers into the deep end and letting them fend for themselves, but this time the sense of disorientation is alienating and, rather than feeling sucked into a baffling world, you feel more like you’re standing outside of it, waiting for the creators to pull back the curtain on a reveal that will finally make sense of everything. Abigail Chandler
Hooch plus werewolves? The title is pure genius.