Unless Places

Exclusive Preview of "100 Bullets" Deluxe Edition vol. 4

by shathley Q

12 April 2013

It's the knock at 3am that's almost genetically encoded into us all. A knock at 3am is a frightful, life-altering thing. How does Azzarello get so good, that he puts that same chill of the 3am-knock into readers, in the bright light of day?…


I almost want to say:

There are Unless Places.

Places you don’t end up in, Unless. The kinds of places Junior would talk about when it got late enough at night and cold enough, and he was full of enough alcohol. To say that Junior didn’t drink was an outright lie, but one that he was happy stoking the embers of, and one that he’d get away with when he could. Often for the benefit of female companionship, which was a rare enough thing for Junior. He’d claim his mother was a scientist, which she really was, and that she’d been researching the effects of alcohol on a human body and that it was his birth that forced her to resign her job. And that that was why he’d never touch alcohol. But on the nights when all of us needed something to cling to we knew we could get Perry or Bill or maybe even Wink to push Junior just hard enough and just slowly enough that that staunch veneer of the teetotal lifestyle would warble and crack. And that it was then that Junior would begin to drink more seriously and more honestly than the rest of us. It was after, long after, when Junior’s demons would come for him, and he begin to talk about the world and his place in it. And then and only then, that he would even dare mention Unless Places. He talk about these kinds of places in the past in tones that evoked splendor. The Frontier, the Klondike, the Old West. Places where law had little lease, where found themselves standing tall under darkening skies. The kinds of places you don’t get to go to unless something else has already happened to you…

But of course, that’s not the truth at all.

The idea of places you don’t reach, unless you been made a victim, or come to be victor, over a certain set of circumstances just popped into my head while I was reading “the Calm”, the opening issue of the 100 Bullets Deluxe Edition’s fourth volume, the very issue that kicks off the finale to the entire series. It’s an idea that can only come after a knock that is delivered with all the psychosexual power of a knock that comes at 3am. All the power, but none of the sickening, gut-wrenching dread of a day that has lingered on for far too long.

I read these pages and I hear the desperation and the despair of Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs; an album trying to shuffle off the blues in favor of a kind of pop redemption. What will you hear, when you enjoy our exclusive preview?


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