Friday, 9 December 2016

Lady Killer, Volume 1 Review (Joelle Jones, Jamie S. Rich)

Josie Schuller is the stereotypical 1960s housewife/mom - and a secret assassin! But when the organisation decides she’s a liability to be disposed of, Josie must use all her skills to neutralise the threat and keep her family alive. 

Lady Killer is a bloody brilliant comic! It’s not the most original premise but Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones still pull off a very compelling action thriller period piece. The juxtaposition between domestic bliss and graphic violence works well without seeming jarring which says a lot about the writing. I also really liked Josie’s complex character: she’s a caring wife/mother/friend but also a stone cold killer - that she uses only knives on her hits (it’s quieter, which symbolically fits in with keeping her double life quiet) was a nice and chilling touch. 

Jones’ artwork is beautiful as always with some very kinetic, big screen moments like an awesome car chase, a hit that threatens to go south, and the finale at the World’s Fair. Laura Allred’s colours add to the appealing visuals, bringing ‘60s Americana to vivid life. 

The one critique I would give it is the about-turn in the middle of the story when Josie’s employer decides to kill her off. The motivation behind that decision is so unconvincing: they think the double life will become too much for her and she’ll snap even though there’s no evidence indicating this - it’s a classic case of being told rather than shown something, and it makes no sense. It’s especially stupid as the next scene gives the employer a far better reason to off Josie. 

So she’s tasked with killing a kid who saw some things and she doesn’t follow through with it out of compassion. Right then and there that shows that she can’t follow orders anymore and that she’s made the organisation vulnerable because she’s gone soft. That’s a way better motive than “Uh, she might lose it in the near future because she’s got a family and, uh, the, uh…” 

Anyway, it’s a relatively minor point and didn’t stop me from enjoying the book overall. Fans of Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting’s Velvet will definitely get a kick out of this one as will anyone looking for an entertaining Mr and Mrs Smith-style caper - Lady Killer is wonderfully stylish violent fun.

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