Issues #15-19 “Hang Up on the Hang Low”
With its continued standard of excellence, it was only a matter of time before 100 Bullets nabbed an Eisner Award, and it was this storyline that finally sealed the deal. “Hang Up on the Hang Low” starts the focus on another aspect that will reoccur throughout the series: family. Or, maybe not just family, but legacy. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters… the old generation making way for the new, and all the burned husks of best intentions that go along with it.
The recipient of Graves’ attaché for this outing is Louis “Loop” Hughes, a young black man currently walking the straight and narrow, but one for whom a life of crime is always a distinct possibility. The subject of Loop’s revenge turns out to be his estranged father, Curtis Hughes, who also just so happens to be a former associate of Graves and, we can assume, the Trust.
At this point in the series, we are starting to get a better idea of how this “game” Graves plays works, or at least in part: the attaché serves to either reactivate old Minutemen, or help Graves suss out who’s got the stones to be new ones. It’s also with this storyline that we can discern that Graves is not necessarily interested in a certain outcome when he hands out his attaches. He doesn’t give Loop the attaché because he wants him to kill his father, per se… For if we’ve learned anything about Graves, it’s that he’s a student of human behavior. He give the attaches not because he wants certain individuals killed (although he may not be entirely dissatisfied with that outcome either); Graves merely sets the dominoes in place to see where they’ll wind up falling. All the answers are still far off in the series’ future, but at least we now see that there is a larger method at work behind Graves’ “game.”
The story of Loop and his father is probably the most affecting of all in the series so far, at least in the stories tying directly into the larger conspiracy of the Trust and the Minutemen. Azzarello and Risso layer in small character touches that make the story, such as Curtis being kind to the people he’s supposed to shake down for money, or Loop learning to appreciate his father’s love of baseball; in the process turning this chapter into far more than your basic crime/revenge yarn.