Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, the creative team behind 100 Bullets (a book I really should reread and finish someday) came up with a brilliant follow-up idea of a Prohibition-era mob war between urban Mafioso types and some Appalachian moonshiners.
And then they added werewolves to that mess. The second volume, subtitled Mystery Train, deepens the complications.
At the center of the series is “Torpedo” Lou Pirlo, a mid-level mob soldier who, in the first volume, got himself cursed with lychanthropy and now wolfs out at the sight of the full moon, becoming a mindless monster that kills anyone it can get its hands on. There may be some hope for a cure if the local African Americans with what look like voodoo connections are telling him the truth, so he does the only thing he can think of and goes with an old man, riding the rails further South. He soon ends up in New Orleans, and while he has an address for someone who can maybe help him, he’s soon arrested and added to a chain gang where being a Yankee doesn’t exactly endear him to the guards or his fellow prisoners.
And while that is going on, things seem to be getting more violent between the mob and the rum-runners. While patriarch Hiram seems to be dead or captured depending on whom you ask, his wife may be the most ruthless hardass in the family, keeping even her shapeshifter children in line through sheer force of will.
Azzarello and Risso have a nice thing going here. Lou, at the center, is a haunted figure, though he doesn’t get as much attention here now that Mama Holt steps out as what may be the series’ biggest antagonist. Then again, in a story like this, just about everyone is at best either a little crooked or a victim of someone else. But tossing werewolves into the mix–and werewolf hunters as it turns out–adds a supernatural flavor to events as Lou tries to find ways out of his prison gang before he has to get really violent. And if he gets really violent, it won’t be because he wants to. Nine out of ten images of background corruption.