100 Bullets – Hang Up on the Hang Low
“Hang Up on the Hang Low” is the third installment of the popular series called 100 Bullets. Azzarello understands the depth and grit of the noir comic genre. I don’t think he is the best at it, but I do believe that he pulls it off. A great read if you only have an hour or so (it took me less than 60 minutes to read), but this one is definitely the shortest in the series so far.
In this trade we get to meet Lewis “Loop” Hughes, a young fatherless gangster trying to make it on the streets of Philadelphia. He is approached by the surreptitious Agent Graves with the usual offer: 100 untraceable bullets, an untraceable gun, and a subtle suggestion. In this case, Graves suggests that Loop should seek out his absentee father, and “pay him back” for all the years that he and his mother have had to struggle without him.
The themes in this volume of 100 bullets are universal in their influence and emotional in their context. Fatherhood, baseball, loyalty, deception, rape, and poverty are the backdrop against which we examine our characters. Curtis Hughes is quite possibly my favorite character in the 100 Bullets comic book series. He perfectly highlights the great sacrifices that a good father will go through in order to protect and provide for his family.
“Hang Up on the Hang Low” would not be an ideal comic for a female audience. There is a very brutal rape scene and some other abuse directed towards the fairer sex throughout the pages. Also, I felt that the themes were mainly directed towards men. The overwhelming undercurrent to the entire story is the strange relationship between Curtis and Loop (strange because of context, but familiar because it is still text book father son interaction).
What would you sacrifice to give your son a life worth living?