Brother Lono (2014) Review

notthedog

STORY BY Brian Azzarello

ART BY Eduardo Risso

COLORS BY Patricia Mulvihill

LETTERS BY Clem Robins

After many years, we’re finally thrown back into the high risk ultra violence of 100 bullets. Brother Lono has been M.I.A. for a stretch of time and has taken shelter at a Mexican Catholic Orphanage run by Father Manny and a suspiciously sexy Sister June. Of course, what’s a Mexican crime story without a drug cartels, drug mules, bloodlust philosophers, and scantly clad maybe-not-under-aged hookers?

Just like any hard boiled story about reformed killers, it paces back and forth on the line between redemption and damnation. However, Azzarello’s writing doesn’t come off as forced or preachy. Instead, the diatribes flow more like deathrow poetry which stitch their way through the hyper violence. By the end of the series, Azzarrello and Risso madon for creative brutality made beheading’s look like mercy kills. Although the amount of suffering and death trivializes life and hope, it’s counterbalanced by the moral dilemmas; therefore, bringing the theme and nature of 100 Bullets back to life.

Although the story focuses on Lono and his redemption, his redemption is actually the burden of Father Manny. In the earlier series, a briefcase of 100 bullets was given to a protagonist to bring balance back to their lives, but it was always with a profound cost. Father Manny’s 100 Bullets is Lono himself. He’s given the dilemma between using Lono to defend the orphanage from the cartels or to save Lono from himself. In an act of weakness and fear, Father Manny lights the fuse and as the good book says, “Hell followed with him”.

The art style has matured a little over the years. The lines are a little more clean and the colors a little more polished. The beautiful contrast between the inky darks and the golden tans gave more depth and focus between the characters and their landscapes. Once again, the torture and blood shed was creatively sadistic. The women’s curvacious bodies all dripped with dangerous sex appeal. It was also graceful how Risso would ink iconic Hispanic street or prison art into the landscapes or bodies of the villains.

Not only is this a good tale for beginners to get a taste of the classic series, but also for old fans it felt like a fresh take on what had come before and is definitely worth picking up. What may sound like a classic anti hero tale actually slowly burned into a story about how desperation can cause irredeemable acts. In the world of 100 Bullets, there’s never a short supply of either; however, this struggle against giving into the fight is what makes these stories tick timelessly. It’s never a question of can you but will you.

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