In the course of this article the ending of the story and many other spoilers will be revealed. This is your only warning.
Taken from twbookmark.com
Officer Soledad “Bullet” O’Roark loathes her nickname-and the notoriety it represents. She didn’t join L.A.P.D’s elite M-Tac squad to fight the Brass or make rookie cops idolize her. She joined M-Tac to kill freaks.
Freaks, muties, metanormals-back in the day, they were called superheroes. They had amazing powers, lurid costumes, and snappy names: Nightshift, Civil Warrior, Nubian Princess, The Giggler. They seemed to be saviors and gods. But where there are heroes, there are villains. When a clash of superheroes and supervillains destroys San Francisco, the normal human population decides it will no longer live like spectators at the foot of Mt. Olympus.
Superhumans are now outlawed and hunted by cops. But it isn’t easy to take down beings who are invulnerable or intangible, have super-strength or super-speed, or can throw flames from their body or telepathically control minds. The mortality rate for M-Tac units is nearly fifty percent-per mission. That’s why Soledad has customized hi-tech, unauthorized, very special ammo. Each freak has a different weakness, and her color-coded clips are designed to exploit every one of them. Soon Soledad is racking up a body count that makes her a legend on the force-and a nightmare in the freak underground.
But when Soledad guns down a radiant woman who can heal the sick, reverse catastrophes, and then fly away on great white wings, the cop may be starting the final war between normals and metanormals. Because Bullet O’Roark didn’t just shoot down a freak. According to all witnesses, she’s killed an angel.
After reading this book it is hard to find a place to start, but there are three major themes in this book if you know where to look. The first is pure racism and bigotry, the second is a warning against knee-jerk reactions (with broad sweeps towards September 11th), the third is more subtle and deals with when passion becomes insanity. The world that John Ridley paints is a stirring look into the human psyche.
After the destruction of San Fransisco by a super-villain, in a knee-jerk reaction the President of the United States signs an executive order declaring that any metanormals left in the country would immediately be declared personae non gratae (lit. an unwelcome person) stripping of their citizenship and their very humanity. Any person so declared is served with a warrant which, although it is technically a warrant for their arrest, signals their death. The teams of specially trained police (M-Tac) serve the warrants with the intent and expectation that they will be served to a dead body.
Because of the actions of a single super-villain an entire segment of the human species is declared nonhuman and treated as such. As is evident by O’Roarks second killing there is no burden of proof. After witnessing a collapse of a street and noticing that cars were held back from plunging into the crevice, O’Roark frantically scanned the faces in the crowd to find the one person who had saved the lives of many people. Upon finding a single person without a fearful expression she drew her gun. When that person turned to leave she followed. And when the person dropped their overcoat to fly away on golden wings, O’Roark fired her gun causing the metahuman to plummet to earth ending their life in a pile of broken bones and wings. This is a world where metahumans are nothing; even one who saved lives is considered sub-human. Although interestingly enough these same sub-humans still still try to help.
There are two lessons we can draw from this part of the story. The first is how deeply racism truly runs. The second is that over reacting to a catastrophe in anger and fear is easy, but dealing with the consequences is hard.
The second lesson we learn is that there is a thin line before passion and insanity. O’Roark hates metahumans with a passion; she devoted her entire life to killing them efficiently to the point that she received degrees in metahuman psychology and physiology before becoming a M-Tac for no other reason than to be able to kill easier. In the course of the story she finds a single person who is her soul-mate, but when he reveals himself (while saving a woman from a burning car no less) to be a metahuman she promptly attempts to kill him emptying clip after clip from her weapon into him. It had no effect on him because he was able to become intangible, but it fueled her desire even more to find a way to kill every type of metahuman.
Now one would believe that there must have been a major catastrophe in this womans life to have her hate metahumans as much as she does. However her vast hate comes from nothing more that wounded pride and broken dreams. In her own words she felt that “as a little girl they killed my dreams” because her hero let her down. She is a picture-perfect representation of a tolerated psychopath.