Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vendetta: The Last Name in Crime

The story of the Vendetta crime family begins on the streets of Rome in 1919.  There an orphaned petty thief named Carlo Vincente had a moment that would change his life forever.  Waiting in an alley, Carlo spotted a woman and her husband walking.  The couple were obviously American tourists.  Employing skills honed over years on the street, Carlo bumped into the male traveler and took his wallet.  But he took more than that:  in surveying his loot, Carlo discovered he had also taken the couple's tickets back to America.

Cunning by necessity, Carlo bartered the two first-class tickets for one steerage ticket, some extra cash, and a ride to the port.  It's not known what happened to the couple whose tickets were stolen or to the people who took their cabin for the return trip.  What is known is that Carlo made it to Rampart City, where he like many new immigrants began working in one of the city's factories.

Carlo's story might have petered out there if not for Prohibition.  Through some contacts made at the factory where he worked, Carlo found out about a group importing liquor into the country.  Soon enough he had joined the group as a driver, taking loads of liquor from across the Canadian border and then into the city for distribution.

All during the Roaring Twenties, Carlo worked his way up the chain of command, biding his time.  Along the way he also solidified his relations with others in the organization, priming them for a change of leadership.  Then one night in 1928, the head of the bootlegging organization had an "accident" that landed him in the harbor with a barrel of cement around his ankle.  By unanimous decision, Carlo became the head of the organization.  To inspire fear in his enemies, he changed his last name from Vincente to Vendetta.

A man of vision, Carlo foresaw the end of Prohibition.  He was already having his organization branching out into gambling, protection, and other profitable rackets.  At the same time, Carlo also began creating a new family.  The organization, now the Vendetta "family," prospered for the next twenty years, through the rest of the Depression and World War II.

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Carlo eventually had an "accident" of his own.  His death was blamed on a fall down the stairs, easy enough to believe for an old man.  Those inside the family, though, knew otherwise.  Anxious for his inheritance, Carlo's son Ferdinand staged the accident in order to take power for himself.

Ferdinand's reign was shorter than his father's, lasting a decade before he too had an "accident" involving defective brakes on his limousine.  His nephew Paul seized control of the family.  While the leadership of the family continued to change every decade or so, the Vendetta organization remained the most powerful force in Rampart City.  Besides controlling all of the city's gambling and having most every business in town paying it protection, the Vendetta family also had connections in the city's unions, police force, and even the mayor's office to make sure no one ever got too close to them.

"Don" Lydia Vendetta
The last male head of the Vendetta family was Armando Vendetta.  He made the mistake of falling in love with a beautiful dancer named Lydia Schmidt.  Armando and Lydia were soon married.  After five years of marriage, Armando's private jet "accidentally" crashed on a business trip to Miami.

To the surprise of everyone in the Vendetta organization, Armando's wife Lydia seized control of the family using the best weapon at her disposal:  lawyers.  Armando's will stipulated that all of his assets would revert to her control, including a fortune of well over a billion dollars.  By parceling out some of this wealth, Lydia managed to keep control of her husband's lieutenants and their underlings, most of whom had no stomach for a costly civil war anyway.  Besides, Lydia was just a woman; it would be easy enough for an "accident" to befall her too.

But no accident has come to Lydia Vendetta, not yet.  Not only that, the Vendetta organization is stronger than ever, expanding into legitimate business ventures and real estate.  What started with one boy on a Roman street has become one of the greatest business and criminal empires in the world.  As for anyone who tries to cross the "family," they soon learn the meaning of Vendetta.

W is for Weapons of Choice:  Scarlet Knight vs. Black Dragoon


  1. Most of these background sketches could be stories in the own right. Very compelling.

  2. I agree with Rusty.

    What I like best is the way this seems rooted in the glory days of comics -- back when comics were both fun and kind of serious; a crime family named Vendetta walks that line perfectly.

    You've got a lifetime worth of material, here.

  3. I agree with what Rusty said. Also, I can't get the "V for Vendetta" movie out of my head now.

  4. The theme to The Godfather was playing in my head as I read this. What a saga, in the best sense of the word.

  5. People seemed bored with this. Maybe talking about weapons and strip clubs will liven things up.

  6. "Armando's wife Lydia seized control of the family using the best weapon at her disposal: lawyers" LOL classic
    @Rusty I totally thought this was the movie too.
    The Geek Twins



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