- Huey: "In Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan represents the mind of the child, innocent yet cruel because of that innocence, ignorant of both good and evil. In contrast, though Captain Hook is evil, he represents the rational adult. What, then, does the crocodile stand for? What is its role? What do you stand for, you who have come to strike me down?"
- Ladd: "Pure power and murderous intent beyond good or evil. Endless hunger. Think of me as a catastrophe, a force of nature."
- — Huey and Ladd in 1934[src]
Ladd Russo (ラッド・ルッソ Raddo Russo) is a violent hitman formerly affiliated with the Russo Family. He is known for his bloodlust and obsession with killing anyone who believes themselves to be invincible or otherwise safe from death.
Over the course of December 30-31, 1931, Ladd hijacks the Flying Pussyfoot with his followers with the intention of securing a ransom from the railroad company. He loses his left hand and the flesh off his forearm to the Rail Tracer during the journey, and is subsequently arrested by the police.
Once recovered, Ladd physically assaults another inmate while in prison in order to have himself condemned to Alcatraz, where he hopes to meet Huey Laforet. After three years of incarceration, he meets and befriends new Alcatraz inmates Isaac Dian and Firo Prochainezo and finally comes face to face with Huey by December 1934.
Two months later, Ladd is released from prison in February 1935 and is subsequently hired by Luck Gandor as extra muscle for an upcoming casino party at Ra's Lance. He remains unabashedly eager to kill his top three murder targets.
Appearance EditLadd has silver-blond hair (darker blond in the anime) and blue eyes. He is usually associated with the white formal attire he wears during escapade aboard the Flying Pussyfoot, since bloodstains are striking against white cloth.
The actions of the Rail Tracer during the journey cause him to lose his ring finger completely, along with the flesh from his left hand all the way up to his elbow. He ends up having a metal prosthetic bolted to his arm bones; while it is as strong as his other arm, it breaks fairly easily.
To be reworked.
Ladd is a chatterbox sadist who finds genuine entertainment in killing others, acting on his bloodlust mostly whenever he pleases and living life however he pleases. He is always honest about who he is as a person, openly and intentionally revelling in his violent tendencies and forever content to wear his emotions on his sleeve in over-the-top animated fashion. Whether he is dancing in the blood of his murdered friend, hugging his opponents as thanks for the entertainment, or melodramatically complaining about how he lost fair and square while standing on his head, his constant need to burn off his endless excess energy ensures that he does not just wear his emotions on his sleeve, he broadcasts them for all the world to hear.
Though some may dismiss him as 'crazed' or a 'brawn-over-brains' brutish thug, he is more intelligent than others give him credit for. He is a killer, but he is not a mindless killer; it is not that he cannot plan, he simply does not. In 1931, it is Ladd who bothers to gather information on the consequences his uncle's bad decisions will have for the Family and concludes that it will be untenable for him to remain, his grasp on the situation proving more thorough than Placido's own. As Placido concludes, Ladd "[is] the type of man who always [comes] to action from nothing more than rough ideas, then [forces] those actions to succeed through on-the-spot calculations made in response to each individual moment."
Above all else, Ladd takes the greatest pleasure in killing those who arrogantly believe themselves invincible or otherwise 'safe', not even considering the possibility that they might die until he reminds them of their mortality. Meanwhile, he is most likely to befriend those who are constantly cognizant of their own mortality (e.g. Firo and Nader Schasschule), as fear towards death is perfectly natural and deserving of respect. Others whom he either respects or appreciates are those who fight fearlessly (like Chané Laforet), or enthusiastically subscribe to his personal philosophy (e.g. Graham Specter). While Isaac is none of these things, Ladd recognizes that his lack of fear toward death stems from sheer obliviousness rather than arrogance and treats him amiably as a result.Most complicated of all for him are people with lifeless eyes, either resigned to or actively seeking death. While he has no idea how to handle men with lifeless eyes, like Fred, women who possess them are exactly his type. His fiancée Lua is one such woman, and his genuine love for her manifests a softer, warmer side of him than one is used to. They both find the idea of her dying at his own hands honestly romantic, though his caveat that he will only kill her after he has killed 'everyone else in the world' suggests that he does not intend to kill her for a long while yet.
Ladd has mellowed considerably in the years following his defeat at the hands of the Rail Tracer, and he is a tad more humble and less hate-driven than he once was. Some of his hardline worldviews have softened, including his his opinion of giving mercy to strangers; he views the concept with far less disgust in 1934 than he does in 1931.
While it is clear that he possesses a friendly side in 1931 and does care for his friends' well-being (as seen when he seeks revenge for Dune), his capacity for affableness and loyalty towards those he calls 'friend' is especially prominent in 1934 and 1935. Once Ladd views someone as his friend, they are his friend whether they like it or not and he will respect their wishes and defend them accordingly. No matter how much Ladd despises Raz Smith, he has and continues to refrain from killing him because he is one of Graham's idols; when Nader - who never wanted to be Ladd's friend in the first place - points out that he could simply take the money Ladd gave him and run, Ladd immediately acknowledges that the fault would be his alone (for making the wrong call) and assures Nader that he would not give chase.
Though Ladd has mellowed to a degree, he is still a violent man at his core and (like always) grows restless if he goes too long without a good fight. His antipathy toward arrogant, self-perceived 'invincible' people remains as strong as ever, and Sham, Victor Talbot, and Salomé Carpenter's personalities antagonize him just as they would have done back in 1931. That said, there are only a few people in 1935 who instantly send his bloodlust levels skyrocketing and leave him consumed with hatred, and topping his 'kill list' are Felix Walken, Huey, and Melvi Dormentaire.
Little is known about Ladd's past, except that one of his childhood friends was Who - one of the White Suits who accompany him on the Flying Pussyfoot. He also had a former fiancée, Leila, who was killed during their elopement at an early age. Leila's death may have been at least partially responsible for Ladd's personality shift. Having been part of the Russo Family since birth, he had been trained as an assassin, learning how to fight, defend and kill. The family boss, Placido Russo, was someone whom Ladd did not have a very stable nor loving relationship with. This can be seen when Ladd jokingly threatens to kill him - though he ends up sparing Placido's life since he did at least raise him.
In 1929, Ladd comes across a bunch of boxers-turned-gangsters beating up a young mechanic (Graham Specter). Ladd says to the thugs: "It's pretty sad, a night with no stars. Kill me." He then punches one of the goons in his mouth, turning to the mechanic to say that it's self-defense if someone kills you while you're trying to kill them. In other words, when he tells them to kill him, they have the right to kill him. Which means, in that case, the gangsters have the right to kill him too. The mechanic is so inspired by Ladd's teachings that he takes his wrench and "takes apart the rest of those goons' joints." Following this, the pair become friends - Ladd being one of the few people Graham looks up to. (Note: Graham and Ladd's first meeting went differently in the anime. See Episode 14).
Ladd approaches Who on December 29, 1931 in order to convince him to join Ladd's hijacking group. Who spends over three hours trying to talk him out of it, and Ladd spends the next four hours convincing him to join. Ladd is ultimately successful.
The next day, Ladd visits Placido's office on December 30, 1931 and announces his plan to rob the Flying Pussyfoot and threaten to crash it into Pennsylvania Station, since the Family has been having money troubles. Placido's call for the guards to remove his nephew is answered in the form of several White Suits entering the room, accompanied by Lua Klein. Ladd introduces Lua as his "girlfriend, lover, and fiancée" and his friends as people of similar mindsets, but the pleasantries are wasted on his uncle; Placido stands, grabs him by the collar, and warns him to keep the massacre completely separate to the Russo name. Ladd, unfazed, agrees that it is more fun to kill people for the sake of killing, rather than using the Family's name as an excuse.
Placido snarls that if he likes killing people so much he should go play mercenary in the battlefields of South America, where he can easily satisfy his delusions. Ladd, forcing Placido to release his collar, argues that neither he nor Placido have the right to talk about soldiers; a battlefield is for warriors, people who are prepared to die in order to kill others while defending themselves – people who are no fun to kill.
Ladd takes out a rifle as he rants and points it at Placido's chin, asking if Placido understands anything he has just said. When Placido remains silent, Ladd remarks that while him and his friends do not care about killing stronger foes, that does not mean they target 'weaklings' like women and children: instead, the people Ladd like to kill are those who are utterly relaxed, the thought that they might die never once having crossed their mind. The implication that Placido is Ladd's 'type' is obvious.
His uncle's pleas for his life turn into a shriek when he pulls the trigger, but the rifle proves to have been empty all along. With a quiet laugh, Ladd assures Placido that he would never have killed him – even someone like Ladd will have some respect for the man who looked after him in childhood. Watching his uncle collapse, he remarks that this will probably be the last time they ever see each other, and wishes his uncle to take care.
Before Ladd leaves, he clarifies that he would likely not be able to come back to the Russos even if he wanted to. He reminds Placido that he is almost certainly on Lucky Luciano's hit list after he tried protesting Luciano's reorganization proposal, and that Luciano is far more threatening than Ladd will ever be. Even if the local guards are competent enough to prevent Placido from ending up like Salvatore Maranzano, Ladd has reason to believe that the local police and tax office have their eyes on Placido as well – potentially planning to use him as a scapegoat to take Chicago back from the mafia. As a further blow, he notes that the 'old Placido' would have retorted with a good comeback by now, whereas the Placido in front of him did not even try to fight back upon seeing the rifle.
Placido finally thinks to ask what Ladd has done to his guards, and Ladd reassures him he only knocked the guards out – though they might have a few broken bones. His remark that it is 'lucky' Placido's grandchild is still at school only further antagonizes his uncle, who demands to know why Ladd had bothered to stop by in the first place if he was just going to leave.
With a look of anxiety, Ladd asks if Placido could gift him his old white suit as a wedding gift. The question is so abrupt that Placido momentarily forgets his anger to ask why Ladd's friends are all dressed in white, but Ladd's answer sends chills running down his spine: "If we're gonna destroy dozens of lives in that cramped little space of a train, all that white's gonna make the blood look gorgeous, don't you think, uncle?"
Ladd changes into Placido's suit on the Russos' black double-decker bus while in transit to Chicago's Union Station. He remarks to Lua that it is a perfect fit, and she asks him why he really refrained from killing Placido, as he would have normally. His answer, that it is 'best' to attend a party on an empty stomach, leads her to call him 'sick.' While on the bus, he celebrates the "grand opening" of their party with his dozens of followers.
He and his group arrive at the station that evening, where his vow to massacre every last one of the passengers is met with high enthusiasm from his friends. While his followers board the Second Class cars, Ladd expresses his pleasure that they are traveling Second Class - neither the best or the worst, neither here nor there. He wonders what kind of "filthy rich bastards" ride in First Class, and upon remembering a black-clad orchestra boarding First Class on the platform, comments that their black is a wonderful contrast to the Russo white.
Ladd asks his friends who else they spotted on the platform once they are all on the train, and one of them pipes up that he saw two people whom he believes to Natalie Beriam and Mary Beriam, wife and daughter to Senator Manfred Beriam. Ladd immediately latches on to the idea that a Senator's family would be carefree in First Class, feeling perfectly safe, and decides that the Beriams will be his first victims.
The connecting door to the second class car opens, and a mysterious man dressed in grey walks past them to exit through the other connecting door. The White Suits wonder who he is, comparing his appearance to that of a magician, and Ladd is filled with excitement at how interesting the situation is becoming. An orchestra, a Senator's family, and a magician are variety, and variety is exciting.
Several hours into the journey, he and the other White Suits draw straws to see who will have the pleasure of hijacking the dining car. Vicky wins the draw, much to his disappointment, and he is left to wallow in envy until Lua suggests that he can at least check on the dining car. As he exits his compartment to do just that, a delinquent accidentally bumps into him and apologizes profusely for doing so; he stops long enough to explain that he is looking for the Young Conductor and that everyone is in great danger, and then takes off running.
Ladd, watching him go, finally realizes way the teenager looks familiar - he is Jacuzzi Splot, a wanted man whose head has a bounty on it courtesy of the Russo Family. Intrigued, Ladd leans back into the compartment and asks Lua to go investigate the conductors' compartment, and, if she spots a 'tattooed kid' to grab him on his behalf. Lua and Who exit the compartment as bid.
Excited by another interesting twist, Ladd's pace quickens as he heads for the dining car. Nice Holystone and Donny run past him, and then Lua and Who, with tense expressions on their face. When gunfire sounds off from the dining car not long after, it is soon followed by Nick tearing past him and hollering murder. Unable to contain himself any further, Ladd breaks out into a run at the sound of screams in the distance.
Inside the dining car, Ladd finds Vicky dead in the aisle and three armed members of the black-suited orchestra - the Lemures - standing at the other end of the car, one wounded. Ladd uses the tommy gun of one Lemur to kill the other healthy Lemur, and lets the wounded Lemur run back to first class. He then proceeds to box the remaining Lemur to death, learning in the process that the Lemures' leader is a man called Huey Laforet.
Once the Lemur is dead, Ladd informs Natalie Beriam that he will return for her and her daughter after he has dealt with the Black Suits. He returns to his compartment with his friends after retrieving Vicky's handgun and the Lemures' machine guns, briefs them that the Lemures are now their main enemies, and orders them to split up while they go after the Black Suits. His own first mission is to find Lua (and Who, who have both gone missing), and he eventually locates them, Jack, and Nick the raggedy-man tied up in a freight hold.
Noting the odd lack of guards, Ladd frees Lua and Who while ignoring Nick and Jack. Both men protest, but Nick eventually makes the mistake of calling Jack by his name; Ladd, enthused, takes the opportunity to test whether all men named Jack are good boxers. He proceeds to mercilessly assault Jack, who earlier had been openly hostile toward him, and leaves him and Nick to their fates in the freight hold.
Ladd and his friends proceed to investigate a nearby hold, where they find the bloody torso of a Lemur and blood drenching the ceiling and walls of the room. Upon exiting, they come across Jacuzzi's Gang exiting the hold where Lua and the others had been held captive. Nick warns Jacuzzi that Ladd is the man who assaulted Jack, which earns him Jacuzzi's immediate hostility - and then horror when he reveals that as a Russo, he is aware of Jacuzzi's identity. Jacuzzi accuses him of having murdered the conductors, which honestly takes Ladd aback – one of his friends, Dune, was supposed to masquerade as a conductor as part of their hijacking plan.
Assuming that Dune is dead, Ladd decides to see the conductors' apartment for himself rather than dealing with Jacuzzi now, and Jacuzzi issues his own warning that he plans on dealing with Ladd in the future. Ladd is amused by the display, and as he leaves, he truthfully claims that neither he nor his people were responsible for the mess in the hold they just left.
When the party of three arrives at the back of the caboose, they are confronted with the corpses of two men dressed in conductors' uniforms. One is a middle-aged man, but the other's face is mutilated beyond recognition, Ladd guesses that the second man must be Dune, and vows to take revenge on the person responsible for his death. Thrilled, he orders Who to take Lua back to Second Class while he takes action.
(To be rewritten)
Ladd's gang and the Lemures' battles are depicted on varying accounts by the two books, both with successes and failures. Along the way they meet a mysterious boy who asks them to kill all the passengers in the first class cabin, planning to split the money they'll get from this along with the bombs the boy had been hiding. Ladd, infuriated by the boy's condescending attitude and confidence that he will not be killed, shoots his head clean off, rejecting the offer.
He later tells his friends, among them being Who, that they will continue to kill the Lemures and finally kill off the passengers since no ransom will be given. He later climbs on top of the train after one of his friends tells him that someone is waiting for him. There, he meets Chané and the two duel amidst the gusty winds inflicted by the train's speed. They later separate after Chané flees the battle, Ladd in hot pursuit.
Ladd overhears from her allies that they plan to betray her in order to get the secret of immortality from Huey. Ladd drops down from his hiding place and interrogates them before killing them. Once again, Ladd meets with Lua and Who. He asks the grey magician, who is with them, to help his wounded friend, He then tells Lua that he will settle matters once and for all, before setting off in search of Chané.
He later confronts Chané again at the top of the speeding train and reveals that he knows all about her and her father, mocking Huey's immortality and plotting to kill him endlessly. This infuriates Chané and causes her to emotionally lash out at Ladd via her attacks. Their fight is interrupted by a red monster, later revealed to be Claire Stanfield. The two exchange philosophies amidst the duel. At Claire's belief that he is the 'center of the world', Ladd swears that he will kill him. Claire witnesses Lua climbing up to meet Ladd atop the train and predicts that Ladd will throw himself off for Lua.
Claire ties a rope around Lua's neck, and lassos the other end to a metal post that the train is passing by, forcing Ladd to save his fiancee and jump off the train. As he and Lua soar, the rope unravels around Lua's neck -- a fake knot. Ladd shouts in fury at Claire with this revelation, even as parts of his fingers are severed from the high speed of the rope. Realizing they are headed straight for a water tank, he uses his injured left hand to punch the metal itself in order to break their fall.
The police later arrive and find the two of them by the railroad tracks. Ladd reveals the severity of his broken arm and is promptly arrested despite his claims that all his killings were done in self-defense. Ladd's arm is treated, and after he is taken to prison he is told that he will stand trial for the murders and spend his incarceration elsewhere. Ladd asks the officer where Huey Laforet is incarcerated and is told that he is held in Alcatraz.
1933 - The Slash
Ladd's name is mentioned by Ronny Schiatto, who states that he will be transferred to Alcatraz soon with the desire to kill Huey and spite Chané. Intrigued, Huey welcomes this new development.
1934 - Alice in Jails Edit
An old correctional officer recalls the time before Ladd's transferral. He notes that Ladd was placid and cooperative despite the cruelty the officer inflicted upon the prisoners. Ladd had unnerved the officer, and had even asked him how one could transfer into Alcatraz. At the officer's answer, Ladd's violent tendencies show themselves once more.
One day, the prison receives a new prisoner: Gustavo Bagetta. Ladd mocks the large gangster, instigating a fight with at least ten men loyal to him. The officer recounts how the fight ended in a near bloodbath, and how Ladd had gleefully ate his lunch amidst a pile of unconscious bloodied prisoners. Ladd was sent to solitary confinement for a short time after threatening the old officer, warning him that he should never feel like he'll never die. Ladd is subsequently transferred to Alcatraz along with Al Capone, Gustavo and other gangsters - (the correctional officer resigns from his post in order to hide).
The officer narrates how he dreads the day when Ladd is released from Alcatraz, getting the gut wrenching feeling that the mobster is still coming for him. He breaks down in fear, ending the chapter.
(To Be Continued)
In February 1935, Ladd is released from Alcatraz the same day that Nader Schasschule is released from prison/protective custody. Ladd is pleased by Nader's extreme fear of both death and the Russos and declares the other man a friend (much to Nader's dismay). He is curious why Nader is so afraid of the Russos, and what his connection with the Flying Pussyfoot is, but as they're walking he notices that they are being tailed. At the first opportunity, Ladd lobs a brick at the car following them and clambers up onto its roof, punching straight through the roof with his metal prosthetic (and holding up Nader with his other arm). He pulls out the driver with his fake hand, and causes the car to crash through a house.
He and Nader disembark, and Ladd heads for the nearest occupied car. To his luck, the car contains Lua, Graham, and Shaft, and he happily reunites with his fiancée and near-brother. Ladd wants to go visit Firo's casino, but when Shaft informs him that Who is alive and kicking, decides he'll go say hi to Who at Fred's Clinic instead. He gives Nader money and tells him to gamble at Firo's casino in his stead.
(Rest to be added)
Ladd is a trained hitman and formidable fighter. While on the Flying Pussyfoot, Ladd was one of the most effective fighters against the Lemures, second only to the Rail Tracer in terms of brutality.
He prefers to kill using his gun, a Lupara (nicknamed Blasty), using bullets in an orthodox but deadly and effective manner. When shooting he shows remarkable marksmanship.
He is equally dangerous unarmed; as a boxing fan, he seems to have worked on his punches (though he ruefully admits he needs to work on his right hook). It appears that he has improved by 1934, since he is able to take down Gustavo with one sharp hit - and snap a table like a pencil using only his real hand.
After losing his left hand and the flesh off his forearm to Claire Stanfield, Ladd has a metal prosthetic bolted to his bones. It is as strong as his other arm, but it can break easily if too much force is used.
Ladd can be manipulative and disarming when he needs to be, and can lull opponents into underestimating him before he makes his move. That being said, he can be emotionally provoked into rashness - when confronted by people like Czes or Claire, his 'bloodlust levels' spike and he wants nothing more than to kill them. He is also a quick judge of character - with one glance at Mark Wilmans in 1935, he can tell that Mark is no ordinary child, with 'death in his eyes.'
Lua Klein - Ladd is sincerely in love with Lua, going so far as to leap off the Flying Pussyfoot to save her life. Frequently, Ladd proclaims that after he has killed everyone in the world, he will kill her last, and that he is the only one who can and will kill her. Lua looks forward to this, and is excited by the prospect of dying (at his hands especially).
Placido Russo - Ladd's relationship with Placido is neither a warm nor friendly one. He tempers Placido's arrogance and is quick to remind him that he could die at any time, clearly enjoying pressing Placido's buttons. Still, he won't go so far as to kill Placido, pointing out that he can at least appreciate his uncle for 'looking after him' all these years. He does not grieve when he learns of Placido's death.
Graham Specter - Ladd views Graham as his honorary little brother (as he calls him in front of Raz Smith, someone Ladd holds contempt for), and has a good understanding of the mechanic's personality - advising others to let Graham blow of steam when he starts ranting. He also thinks highly of Graham as a fighter, easily admitting that Graham is better than he is in a fight. Meanwhile, Graham reveres Ladd and respects him like one might a king.
Firo Prochainezo - The mobster and Ladd form a very unlikely friendship. Ladd knows of Firo's immortality but due to Firo's fear of death, respects him enough to wish him well.
Isaac Dian - Isaac befriends Ladd in Alcatraz. Isaac's complete obliviousness when it comes to the threat of death endears him to Ladd, who compares him to a puppy. Ladd finds him amusing and maintains a healthy friendship with him throughout their incarceration. In 1935, he is honestly pleased to see Isaac again.
Who - Who is Ladd's childhood friend, and Ladd was the one responsible for giving Who the nickname 'Who' in the first place. Who is extremely terrified of dying, and it took Ladd hours to convince Who to hijack the Flying Pussyfoot with him. Once Ladd is released from prison in 1935, he acts in a blithe manner concerning Who - he wonders if Who is still alive, but doesn't seem too particular worried about the possibility he might be dead. Still, he is pleased to learn that Who is alive after all, and he goes out of his way to visit Who at his new workplace.
Nader Schasschule - Nader's fear of death catches Ladd's interest, and he is further interested in Nader after he learns that Nader is on the Russos' bad side and was involved with the Flying Pussyfoot. Ladd himself has declared that he and Nader are friends, despite the fact that Nader wants nothing to do with him.
Huey Laforet - Ladd despises Huey for thinking that he is invincible. Ever since the Lemures mentioned Huey's invincibility and lack of fear, Ladd has been plotting to get closer to Huey in order to subject him to eternal pain and death until Huey wishes for death himself.
Chané Laforet - Due to Chané's love and loyalty to her father, she and Ladd are at each other's throats and will no doubt fight to the death when they meet again. Ladd's desires to kill Huey in part to spite Chané.
Felix Walken - Ladd and Claire fought on board the Flying Pussyfoot, where their differing ideologies clashed heavily. Ladd has sworn his vengeance against Claire, and hates him to his core.
- Ladd was probably born in late December 1906, given that he tells Czes on the Flying Pussyfoot that he has 'just turned 25' in the anime (original Japanese sub).
- His prisoner ID in Alcatraz was 302010.
- Ladd is Ryohgo Narita's favorite character.
- The Russo Family is actually an Italian Family that migrated to North America in the late 1800s. However, they were not associated with the underground mafias.
- Ladd has claimed that he is weaker than Jack Dempsey, a famous boxer. Ryohgo Narita, the series' creator, has confirmed this to be true.