100 Bullets: Brother Lono 2


In which…

One thing I forgot to mention last month is that, just as this story is set in Mexico, so is it all in Spanish, or rather translated Spanish. The translations to not apply to the chapter titles or credits. So this episode is entitled ¡Tu Pasado Te Matara! which my favoured internet translator tells me means “Your Past will Kill You!”.

Interesting.

For the moment, the story is simply moving forward. Azzarello picks up from within a short time of issue 1’s ending, as Brother Lono escorts Sister Rose to the Church/Orphanages, filling her in on what to expect in Durango. It’s clear that he’s aware of her attractiveness: hell, with shorts that short, and Risso’s ability to draw endless varieties of attractive women, it would be entirely impossible to believe in a Lono who wasn’t aware. But just as this is a Lono who neither swears nor drinks, this is a Lono who no longer fucks. Though the vow of chastity is, he admits, the hardest.

At the orphanage, Sister Rose – or June, when she’s being as informal as Father Manny – is unpacking and settling in. Father and Sister assess each other, and their vocation, but it is Lono’s vocation that the lady is interested in. Because she’s attracted in turn? We’ll wait on that one. But she is intrigued by a Brother who has clearly come from a vastly different past.

So are we, as avid devourers of that past, and Father Manny unrolls the first stage of that story for her and us. Almost three years ago, whilst administering confession to the children, Lono came to the church. He confessed, was absolved, laughed and said something (unrevealed) that had Father Manny prepared to beat him.

But this was Lono as we last saw him, as the walls of the Trust fell inwards and the roof collapsed on (almost) everyone, wounded through the face, wounded by Dizzy Cordova, shot, scarred, mauled and bitten and near to death: Father Manny kept him alive.

There will, I trust, be more, including some sort of explanation of how Lono got from Miami to Mexico when the two are not contiguous,but this is Azz as we know him of old, parceling out information in mean amounts, rigidly avoiding anything that is an “As You Know…”, allowing, no, forcing us to use our own imaginations, to hunt for the clues that will open up the path of what is to come.

As for those many other elements that were flung into our faces first time out, again there is a less jumbled approach, fewer strands to follow, a more linear development. Senor Butler has the meeting with Cortez for which he has traveled. He is the West Coast Connection for Los Torres Gemelas (that The Twin Towers are absent on other business immediately draws from me the thought that they do not exist, that Cortez is the head and they are an invisible shield, all the more deadly for not being real). Butler is here to propose an extension of their franchise into the Midwest.

Los Torres Gemelas approves of the idea, but there is to be an increase in the cost price of almost 25% – Cortez is pedantically precise when he specifies it as 22.3%. There is to be no negotiation, not that this halts Butler from suggesting that Los Torres are not the only organisation in town. This is not a wise thing to say, especially not on Los Torres’ turf: by the issue’s end, he hangs, gagged, from a scaffold outside the compound: wild dogs rip and tear the meat from his naked, living legs.

Los Torres Gemelas are the only ones with whom Butler’s organisation can deal. Unfortunately for him,his organisation is not the only ones with whom Los Torres can deal.

But Lono? Lono has gone into town because red paint is needed. The shops which sell red paint are closed, but he has gone into town. He sits in a bar, debating his own nature, and his denial of it, within himself. He’s also looking at half-naked girls, and the macho boyfriends calls him on it, wants to start a fight. But Lono won’t fight. He apologises, he tries to make things smooth. Even when the idiot pulls a gun, he doesn’t respond,won’t fight. Admittedly, he does that very disturbing trick of crushing the glass in his hand, splintering shards into his hand, and the guy backs down, humouring the loco gringo.

But he won’t fight. He won’t take what he wants because he can, the way he’s always done. Lono is still holding out against himself.

Rather than trek back to the Orphanage, he sleeps in the jail cell: it’s a habit, allowed by the Police, who are investigating another drug-murder, the one we saw last month,the guy forced out of the jail.

Two down, a quarter of the story. Knowing Azz, knowing 100 Bullets, I see a shape forming. The graves of issue 1, page 1, dug by a sweltering man in a loud, Hawaiian shirt, are those of Father Manny, Sister Rose, and the Orphans, and the Lono who digs them seeks revenge on Los Torres Gemelas, who are responsible.

I see a shape forming. But then I only ever once beat Azz to the punch he had hidden in all of 100 Bullets, so I’m not betting on things, not yet.

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