Revenge is a dish that tastes better cold.
- Mexican Proverb.
A (mis) interpretation:
Chapter 4: The Butcher's Knives.
Juárez Fuentes was the head of the Cártel de Juárez, a powerful Mexican drug cartel which controlled a large percentage of cocaine trafficking from Mexico into US. The cartel was notorious for its brutality and method of execution against its rivals and enemies. Juárez, whose nickname is El Machete, was a former military personnel whom rose to power within the cartel after the death of his mentor, Anesto Acosta and through the support of drug interdiction officer, General Pablo Gutiérrez. He was sent to prison after his right hand man, Raphael Hernández, infamously known as El Perro Rabioso, whom also led the cartel's enforcer unit, La Línea, betrayed him. Juárez used his money to bribe officers, judiciaries and politicians which allowed him to stay in prison for eighteen months instead of life without parole. When he was released, Juárez found out that The Mad Dog had usurped his position and seized control of the cartel. In addition The Mad Dog consolidated his power and formed an alliance amongst major drug cartel rivals in the country as well as establishing an insulated protection through corrupted officers and politicians. Juárez's loyal followers and members had all been brutally purged from the organisation. Learning of Juárez's released, The Mad Dog immediately ordered his men and associates to finish off the ex-leader of the cartel. Juárez's wife and children were killed. This triggered a furious retaliatory act of vengeance by Juárez against The Mad Dog and those responsible. Leaving a trail of dead bodies, he finally confronted The Mad Dog and his closest aides during a high level meeting. Juárez eliminated all the bodyguards and associates. He disembowelled The Mad Dog and hung him by his own intestines. The assassination and massacre triggered a massive manhunt for Juárez by both the authorities and various drug cartel members. When running out of option, Juárez succeed in smuggling himself out of Mexico through the tunnels and into US. For years he hid himself and his identity from others, working odd jobs around US to survive. With the cartels still putting out a huge bounty on Juárez, he finally approached the Diamonds Family for opportunity to work for them as well as seeking protection. The head of the family, Diamond K, whom had an intuitive eye for talent as well as recognising Juárez from the old times, welcomed him into the organisation. He nevertheless assigning him only the rank of 3 of Diamonds. Diamond K also used his powerful influence and connections to absolve vendetta between Juárez and the Mexican cartels. As years passed, Juárez slowly lost whatever respect he used to have, even within the Diamonds Family. That is, until the arrival of 2 of Diamonds, Alger. The former associate of the Spades Family immediately recognised the talent of Juárez. Diamond 2 earned Juárez's absolute obedience, loyalty and respect after challenging him to a duel and contest of martial skills of which Diamond 2 defeated El Machete. More importantly, Alger admired and respected Juárez's extraordinary abilities and skills in using all forms of throwing and cutting knives as well as his cunningness and burning ambition to return back to Mexico to regain his position as a leader and ultimately, the respect he used to have. Eventually, Juárez would become Diamond 2's right hand man and instrumental in part of Alger's grand scheme to destroy the Spades Family and usurpation of the Diamonds Family organisation.
Spades 4 staggered up, coughing out blood, as his broken ribs moved on their own from the kick delivered by Alger. Spades 3 pulled out the dagger embedded on his hand as both of them confronted Diamond 2, the traitor of the Spades Family. Spades 3 hurled his tomahawk using his good hand with all his might at Alger, but was met with a machete. In a blurry movement, Spades 3's stomach was slashed open, followed by stabbings on his shoulders, wrists and kidneys, incapacitating him instantaneously. As Spade 3 collapsed on the floor dying, Spade 4 tried to pick up his AK47 but was stabbed by a flying blade. Using his left hand, he aimed his M1911 semi-automatic pistol and pulled the trigger at Alger and the moving shadow. The loud bursts of the .45 echoed through the corridor but did not hit anyone. A glint of sharp metal flew into Spade 4's chest, followed by several quick deep slashes across his body, spilling bloods all over. As consciousness about to leave Spade 4, he heard them talking. 'Whose hand shall we send over to the Spades?' asked Juárez. 'Whoever's with the tattoo that you fancied El Machete,' replied Alger mercilessly and coldly. The death of Spade 3 and 4 served as the catharsis which triggered the long and bloody war between two of the strongest crime families in the Gangster Kingdom.
Dam Toys scored another hit with this one in my personal opinion. Based on the one and only Danny Trejo's cult character, Machete from the movie of the same name (2010), its sequel, Machete Kills (2013) and which a similar but different character first appeared in Desperado (1995), all directed by Robert Rodriguez, with "stylised" version of his head sculpt, rooted hair instead of sculpted one (and has that sweaty, oily feel to it with loads of hair products applied to it I reckon), this is the second antagonist to be featured in their by now wildly successful Gangsters Kingdom series (check out their earlier figures and exclusive ones on eBay. The prices remind me of ThreeA's early days figure. It will detonate my wallet). The figure comes with tonnes of knives - small throwing blades, curved and straight bowie knives and curiously, two straight large ones, perhaps as a nod to the film version of which the figure is inspired from. Sturdy and no concerns at all, except to nit pick, the difficulty to stand properly due to the cowboy boots, I have no major complain. Perhaps following the trend started by ThreeA, there is a randomly inserted, limited exclusive version. The difference is blood splattered face and the scorpion and snake tattoos engravings in gold on the curved machetes. There are fifty two cards in a deck i.e. French deck, so there could be fifty two characters. But I may be skipping Spade 5 and probably Spade 6, the debut of a female character in the lineup due to what I deemed as too militaristic and too outlandish costume respectively. I prefer them characters in normal setup and gears, like real-life gangsters I guess. The set comes with a comic book, of which artwork are both reminiscence of Mike Mignola and Frank Miller's Sin City high contrast black and white setting.