In 1999, DC took a chance on an unknown writer named Brian Azzarello, giving him an ongoing, creator-owned series with Argentine artist Eduardo Risso. In another brave move, this comic would be a crime comic, a genre that hadn’t performed well in the American market for some time.
Titled 100 Bullets, the comic began as an anthology of sorts, letting its creators tell stories starring various characters, based on the conceit of a mysterious person who offers people a gun and bullets that cannot be traced — and that, once identified, will cause police to drop the case. The stories were designed to gravitate around realistic, sometimes slice-of-life characters who were offered the chance to revenge themselves scott-free. Increasingly, however, the major players behind the gun, their allies and enemies, took center stage (a move sort of like making the Crypt Keeper a focus of his stories, but it worked).
As the plot expanded, the man who gave people these guns was revealed to be Agent Graves of the Minutemen, who served another group called the Trust. The Trust went back centuries and had struck an agreement with Europe’s kings to abandon their European holdings in exchange for power in the New World. The Minutemen were originally formed to massacre the colonists of Roanoke Island, which violated the earlier agreement. Much later, Agent Graves betrayed the Minutemen, who had their memories supressed (prior to the series’s opening). Many of those Graves offered a chance for revenge turned out to have been striking against the Trust. Agent Graves reactivates some of the Minutemen and plots against the Trust, which is finally destroyed at the end of the series.
100 Bullets was never a great commercial success, but it was widely respected, leading Azzarello to receive other work for both DC (e.g. Hellblazer and Batman) and Marvel (e.g. Startling Stories: Banner and Cage). Risso also received attention, including reprinting of some of the European graphic novels he had illustrated.
Azzarello said the logical time for 100 Bullets to end was with issue #100 — and the series reached that milestone in 2009, concluding as its creators intended.
In 2013, Azzarello and Risso launched a successor / spin-off mini-series starring Brother Lono of the original series.