Review: 100 Bullets: Brother Lono #3

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This  felt lethargic, like it barely had the energy to get to its last panel, and even that was sort of an abrupt and rhythmically poor conclusion.

PROBABLY CONTAINS SPOILERS

Last issue established pretty firmly that Lono is struggling to avoid his violent tendencies, so I’m not sure why so many pages were devoted to delivering the same message here. Brian Azzarello lays it suffocatingly thick—”Their blood on your hands. Sometimes in your mouth. And sometimes on your cock.”—and is not the least bit eloquent about it, either. And it takes up like 25% of the book, including a three-page dream sequence that I’ve seen about a million time before (also where the previous quote comes from) wherein Lono’s dead rise up to haunt him. It’s trite, and it’s old information, not only the fact that Lono is a former killer, but that his current status quo centers on him battling against the urge to kill again.

Another three consecutive pages go to the same scene happening three times in a row with slightly different characters. The priest yells at the crime boss because bodies were dumped on the church. The crime boss yells at his lackey over the same thing. The lackey then yells at his lackey about it, which would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating. All any of these pages accomplish is to remind us that there is a lot of crime going on, but they don’t provide any true insight into how the corpses ended up at the church. Presumably that’s coming in a future issue, but that means that all this issue gets is the weirdly understated scene of two children and the church’s only nun (and book’s only female character) discovering the bodies. It’s not as emotionally impactful as it should be, with Eduardo Risso drawing everyone’s reactions as stifled, almost cautious.

Risso’s expressions are stronger in other places, but his artwork is generally a bit bland this time out. It feels empty and uninventive; every panel shows exactly what it needs to for the reader’s comprehension and not a single detail more. That’s still better than some artists can pull off, and what is on the page looks great, because Risso can fucking draw. So it’s not ugly or confusing artwork at all, except maybe the panel of the chihuahua being affected by a single gunshot as if it were a C-4 explosive, which is both ugly and confusing. The problem is just that the artwork isn’t doing anything of note. It isn’t taking any risks, just getting its job done as efficiently as it can, which makes for a less-than-engaging read.

I’m not sure how engaged Azzarello or Risso are in this issue, and perhaps in this entire series. The story thus far seems to be that Lono is trying to be good, but there’s so much nasty illegal shit going on in the small Mexican town he lives in that it’s hard for him to stay that way. At best, then, it’s a dull character study, with the first inkling of a proper narrative arriving this issue—the church corpses—with an unenthusiastic thud. There’s violence and death aplenty, which almost count as plot points, but none of it even interests me, let alone surprises or shocks or disgusts whatever it’s supposed to do, because it feels like it’s present obligatorily, not for any actual purpose. I guess the entire series sort of comes across that way so far, and certainly it’s true of much if not all of this issue. It exists for the sake of existing, not because it has a story it needs to tell.

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About Matthew Derman

lives in MA with his lady and their dogs. He most often writes about comicbooks on his blog Comics Matter: http://comicsmatter.blogspot.com/

One thought on “Review: 100 Bullets: Brother Lono #3

  1. I completely agree with this review, and its a shame as I LOVED 100 Bullets, but I feel very let down by Brother Lono so far. I am all for the slow burn, but it just doesn’t feel like an interesting story at the moment and Lonos character just seems boring and occasionally troubled by his natural desires to kill. There needs to be some more interesting support characters an a big kick to get this story going as at the moment it is a massive let down.

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