|“||Why do I gotta chase you down to have a conversation?||„|
|~ Lala to Will.|
Latavious Johnson, better known as Lala, is a supporting antagonist in the first season of Black Lightning. He is a version of the DC villain Tattooed Man.
He is a gangster and a member of the 100 Gang, serving as a sub-boss to the leader Tobias Whale. As the owner of the gang turf Club 100, he is responsible for the actions of his henchman Will who proves to be rash and impulsive. However, Lala is unable to prevent Will from causing enough chaos to cause the return of the superhero Black Lightning, a fact that does not sit well with Whale.
He is portrayed by Will Catlett.
Lala is a former pupil of Jefferson Pierce. While at school, he sold drugs for the 100 Gang. After graduating, he eventually joined the gang fully. In the past, he was a friend of a man called Earl but was eventually forced to kill him after Tobias Whale put out a bounty on Earl's head.
Problems with Will
When he finds out that his cousin Will is in his club, Lala sends a few thugs to bring him and Jennifer, a girl he just met in the club, into his office. Once both are in his office, Lala threateningly asks why he has to chase Will down like this if he wants to have a conversation. Will tries to defuse the situation, claiming that he was busy earning the money Lala claims he owes him. Surprised and affronted by this, Lala reminds Will that when Will was arrested by the police, the Freeland PD took one grand worth of drugs from him.
Jennifer tries to leave the room, as she is not associated with any of them, but Lala coldly tells her to stay in the room and "just be cute". He then speaks to Will again, reminding Will that he provided him with commissary money and a lawyer. Angered that Will does not accept that he actually does owe Lala money, Lala hits Will in the face. Surprised, Will asks why Lala has to do this in front of "his girl" and although Jennifer tries to explain to Lala that she just met Will, Lala even implies that Jennifer - Will's girl - should pay off some of Will's debt by prostituting herself in one of the 100 gang's motels. Jennifer is shocked and outright refuses and, furious that Will brought her into this situation, rams her knee into Will's balls which earns her some laughter and respect from Lala.
Suddenly, the lights in the club go out and, fearing an attack, Lala's henchmen storm out of the office. In the resulting shootout with Jefferson Pierce, Jennifer's father who has electricity superpowers and tracked her down to the club, Jennifer and Will flee from Lala's office.
A day later, Lala is visited by Pierce in person. Pierce is outraged because Will has arrived at his daughter's school this morning and stalked her and - as principal of the school - Pierce has an agreement with all the gangs that the school is a gang-free zone. Pierce states that he does not want to bring the police into this but tells him that he needs to keep Will in line. Lala reveals that Will is actually his cousin. When suddenly a young boy shows up, Lala forcefully reprimands the boy for failing to deal drugs the last day because he played video games instead.
When Pierce tries to stop Lala, using the name Latavious, Lala draws a gun on him and orders him to use his "real" name. After Pierce does so, Lala tells him to never touch him again and reminds Pierce that while Pierce has his methods of educating students, Lala has his own. After the boy is gone, Lala accepts Pierce's request but also warns him that Pierce owes him for this. Pierce accepts. However, in the meantime Will enters the school with several 100 thugs and kidnaps both Jennifer and her elder sister Anissa. He brings them to the motel where Lala wanted Jennifer earlier. However, once Lala finds out he beats Will to the ground and incredulously asks Will whether he really thought that bringing the two to the motel was a good idea.
When Will actually confirms this, Lala gets even more angry and brutally beats up Will by claiming that the two are no ordinary girls, that their father is like "Black Jesus" to the community and that he should not have made a move like that without permission. He orders Will to make the two girls disappear and advises him to do the same afterwards. Lala then leaves the room and does not witness Pierce storming the motel as Black Lightning reborn. However, after taking down Will, Pierce interrogates him about the whereabouts of Lala.
While driving away from the motel, Lala's car is stopped by Joey Toledo and Syonide, two armed henchmen of Tobias Whale, and Lala is kidnapped and brought to Whale's place. When he stands before Whale, Lala tries to explain himself but Whale instead tells him to be quiet and swiftly grabs a harpoon from his desk and fires it into Lala's shoulder.
While Lala screams in pain, Whale tells him that he does not believe in reincarnation and that, accordingly, Black Lightning cannot be back as Whale killed him. Nonetheless, the dispute between Lala and the Black Lightning impostor have become problematic for Whale and his business. Drawing Lala closer with the rope attached to the harpoon, Whale asks Lala whether he can deal with the situation or whether Whale should just kill Lala now and deal with the problem himself.
Planning against Black Lightning
A few days later, Whale tells Lala and Syonide that they are to raise the protection amount on every church or business in Freeland to 50 %, ordering them to squeeze the black community dry until one of them reveals who the impostor Black Lightning is. Lala replies that Whale really must hate black people, but Whale forcefully grabs him by the shoulder - the one he harpooned before - and states that it is not black people he hates, it is "incompetent, thick-lipped scratch-where-it-don't-itch Negroes" like Lala. When Lala tries to explain his plan to Whale, Syonide puts a muzzle into his mouth. While Lala is forced to remain silent, Whale tells him that it is all about perception and fear and that the people of Freeland have to fear the 100 Gang in order for their business to thrive. He states the last thing they need is for the people of Freeland to think that "Black Lightning" could actually protect them.
It is revealed that Lala is not prosecuted for the kidnapping of Pierce's daughters, because fifteen men - most likely members of the gang - swear that he was with them all night. However, Lala sends his young drug dealer to the Pierce house to intimidate Jennifer so that she will not testify against the 100 members who were at the brothel. At one of his businesses, a cart racetrack, Lala is confronted by Pierce who is outraged because of everything has happened.
After Lala tells him to be glad that his messenger only attacked Jennifer with a water pistol, Pierce reminds him that they had a deal that the school and his girls are off ground. Lala, however, claims that things have changed and reminds him that the girls should better not testify against him and advises Pierce that his daughters should better take a long vacation before he forces them to. He has two of his men briefly beat up Pierce and tells him that he is being friendly because he was Pierce's student once. Unable to use his powers in front of all the witnesses, Pierce is forced to leave but threatens Lala not to misinterpret his patience for weakness.
After Lala's henchmen have located Will, they bring him to an abandoned car park where they throw him in front of Lala. Lala blames his cousin for the situation he is in and states that family never appreciates what one does for them. After executing Will with a gunshot to the back of the head, Lala drives off in his car. Lala returns to the motel, where he is confronted by LaWanda, the mother of one of the girls the 100 are prostituting in the motel. He is more annoyed than angry and tells LaWanda to get her camera out of his face and to go home. LaWanda struggles when Lala's henchmen try to wrestle the camera away from her, prompting Lala to draw a gun and shoot her thrice, killing her. While Lala's thugs pick her up, drag her to her car and drive it and her body away from the motel, they fail to realize that LaWanda had a second camera inside her car, filming the entire incident.
Captivity and Death
After Will's corpse is found by Pierce's ally Gambi, Gambi can use the data on Will's phone to find out Lala's address. Immediately after getting the news, Pierce suits up and heads to Lala's address, the penthouse of "The Muse" in the city centre, as Black Lightning. Making his way up to Lala's penthouse, Black Lightning takes out several 100 gang members. Lala already awaits him with a drawn gun but is easily overpowered and severely beaten up by Black Lightning. Lala is only saved from being beaten to death when the police storm the penthouse and Black Lightning flees.
Lala is brought to the police precinct where he is confronted with the content of LaWanda's cellphone, including the video in which he murders her. Although he remains silent during interrogation, Lala gets nervous when he is told that the captured members of his gang are already ratting him out and that it looks like his world is falling apart. After Lala is captured by the police, Whale drives to the police precinct where he gains entrance through a corrupt officer. The officer leads him into the holding cells, where another officer opens the cell and then leaves them to it.
Approaching Lala warmly, Whale states that someone who would shoot someone's mother has no morals and thus would have no problems with becoming a rat. To prevent Lala from talking, Whale grabs him by the throat with one hand and brutally throttles him - displaying his brute strength. After havin murdered Lala, Whale tosses the corpse back into the cell and leaves the precinct unhindered.
Weeks later, Lala is suddenly resurrected inside a motel room; a process that has been initiated by Tobias Whale. After sitting up in shock and awe, he suddenly sees LaWanda right in front of him. She asks him if he believes in resurrection, then suddenly bursts into dust which flies into Lala's chest and transforms into a tattoo of LaWanda's head on Lala's skin.
When Lala returns to his nightclub, he interrupts the performance of two of his musicians. They initially do not recognize him, but when they do they become respectful again. The musicians ask him where he has been and tell him that there have been rumors that he had been killed. Lala confirms that he actually was dead and then tells the singers to play the song again, because he likes it. While having his henchmen drive him around, Lala is still haunted by visions of LaWanda who talks to him and asks him what his plans are, now that he's back.
Since his drivers cannot see LaWanda, they are a little disturbed when they hear him having a conversation with himself. LaWanda also advises Lala to kill the two drivers since they will know where he lives when they drop him off at home. However, Lala refuses to murder his own henchmen. Back at home, Lala has a breakdown because he does not understand what is happening to him; he neither remembers dying nor does he know why he has come back - or how. The hallucination of LaWanda calms him and kisses him but then vanishes, leaving Lala alone. As he starts crying afterwards, it seems that he genuinely regrets having murdered LaWanda.
After his resurrection, Lala starts reading about death in ancient cultures. While doing so, he hallucinates Will sitting next to him and jovially talks to him. This concerns his henchmen who see Lala talking to himself. After the hallucination has vanished, Lala approaches his men and asks why they are not selling drugs right now. One henchman replies that since Black Lightning blew up the Green Light warehouse, there has been no more supply but Lala reminds them that Green Light is hardly the only drug in town. The henchman then tells Lala that no one wants the "old" drugs after they had Green Light and also accuses Lala of losing it, reminding everyone that Lala is walking around, talking to himself. When the henchman implies that Lala is no longer "built" for this, Lala grabs him by the ear and rips it out with his pure hands. When the wounded henchman draws a gun, Lala casually disarms him and shoots him to death with it. Intimidated, his henchmen then head out to sell whatever Lala wants.
Back in his office, Lala talks to Will again and reveals that his family does not know that he is dead since corpses raise too many questions. Like LaWanda before him, Will then desintegrates into dust and flies at Lala, creating a tattoo of Lala on Lala's chest. Soon after, Lala invites an old associate into his club and wants to buy drugs from him. The dealer is sceptical, since Lala is buying far more than usual and the stuff is not selling well - thus the dealer expects to be set up. In addition, the drug dealer is not willing to sell Lala so much drugs on comission but Lala hands him a piece of paper with his mother's address on it as leverage. Impressed that Lala would drag his own mother's safety into the business, the dealer then accepts the deal. After Lala has gotten the money, he invites a potential customer but the man is not interested in Lala's drugs - only in Green Light. Lala tells him that if this is the case, he should leave. When he leaves, the man claims that Lala will lose everything anyways once Tobias returns.
Hearing this, Lala slowly and calmly walks up towards the man, even when he aims a gun at him and threatens to shoot if Lala still comes closer. Lala walks right up to the guy and aims the gun at his throat, daring the man to shoot. He does, but the gun does not fire and Lala threatens to kill the dealer with his bare hands if he catches him in Freeland again. When an impressed henchmen asks how Lala knew the gun would misfire, Lala simply replies that he did not.
During a meeting with another drug dealer, Lala is suddenly called by Tobias Whale who only states "The devil deals the cards", revealing that he has returned. It is revealed that Whale was the one to bring Lala back from the dead with help from the A.S.A and when he did, he implanted a trigger-word that gave him control over Lala. After now having heard this trigger word, Lala heeds Whale's orders and murders an influencial weapons dealer. Afterwards, he is once more captured by Syonide and brought before Tobias Whale. However, Whale only thanks him for "getting rid" of the weapons maker and claims that now, they only need to get rid of Martin Proctor in order to be in complete control of Freeland - revealing that he intends to work with Lala once more.
To move on with their plans, Whale has Syonide soon bring Lala into his hideout for a third time. However, this time Lala is fed up with this constant kidnapping and lunges at Tobias who delivers a powerful hit that sends Lala flying. After Lala gets back up, he tells Tobias that Tobias hits "like a bitch". He plans to attack Tobias once more but is stopped in his movement mid-air when Whale once more murmurs "The devil deals the cars". While the shocked Lala is frozen, Whale reveals that it was he who had Lala reanimated and that this phrase is a kind of failsafe that lets him control Lala. In tears, Lala asks whether Will and LaWanda are alive as well and Whale tells them that they are still dead and that the hallucinations are a side-effect of the resurrection; eventually everybody Lala killed will come back to haunt him and burn into his skin until there is no skin left. After mockingly calling Lala "Tattoo Man", he claims that they need to go back to work.
As part of their plan, Lala is brought to the A.S.A. and claims to have information for Martin Proctor about Whale. After he is cuffed and brought into an interrogation room, Proctor demands that Lala tells him the information he has. However, Lala suddenly starts coughing up an activation mechanism for a bomb - which Proctor sees in time to flee the room before Lala activates the bomb hidden inside him and kills himself as well as the agents surrounding him.
Despite having been ripped apart, Lala returns once more - having been resurrected by a unknown scientist who told him that his path of redemption will start with Jefferson Pierce. Driven by his past, he heads pack to Garfield High where he confronts Jefferson Pierce. He storms into his office with a drawn gun, shocking Pierce who believed him to be dead. After a brief banter, Lala reveals that he is hearing voices from the past, including his old friend Earl who was murdered, and claims that this voices led him straight to Pierce which caused him to assume that Pierce was the one who murdered Earl. Vengeful, Lala shoots Pierce in the shoulder and claims that Pierce will confess why he did it. Furthermore, he sees visions of Lawanda and Will - the former telling him to back down, the latter insisting that Lala kills Pierce.
Eventually, the visions physically intervene and Lawanda tackles the gun out of Lala's hands. Pierce picks up the gun but Lala warns him that he cannot die. However, Pierce has no intention of shooting Lala and instead plans to help him to find the answers he is looking for to fill the void in his memories. This succeeds and Lala remembers that he himself was the one who killed Earl - in order to prevent him being killed by Whale's goons. After coming to this realization, Lala sadly thanks Pierce for everything and leaves the office, only to be confronted by the vision of Earl who storms at him and is imprinted on his skin just like Lawanda and Will. He then leaves the school in order to find Tobias and get revenge for the things he made him do and the life he led him into. While he drives off, Lawanda counsels him that he needs to be smart and ruthless if he wants to take out Tobias.
|Black Lightning Villains|