"Lady Killer #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
Illustrated by Joëlle Jones
2014, 24 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on January 7th, 2014
Josie Schuller seems to have it all: a loving husband, two adorable children, a wonderful home. She sells Avon, keeps up with chores around the house, and moonlights as a killer for hire. Wait...what? That's right. This 1960's Susie Homemaker is really a highly trained assassin on the side. It can be a challenge keeping her double life secret from her family, but she's managing it so far in Lady Killer from creators Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich.
When Lady Killer was first announced, it seemed very similar to Garth Ennis' Jennifer Blood, which has the same basic premise of a housewife that kills people on the down low. That's really where the similarity ends. Lady Killer has a protagonist that's actually interesting to start. Plus, it's much more lighthearted and fun. The sheer ridiculousness of Josie's situation would make for the bloodiest version of I Love Lucy ever. Wow...I just imagined Lucy trying to hide a body and clean up blood while Ricky is coming home from the club. That would have made the show so much better.
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Anyway, Josie is a character that you instantly fall in love with. We don't know why or how she's taken on this side job, but it almost doesn't matter. You watch as she seamlessly juggles her fulltime home life with the contract killings with ease, keeping everything in order. There's a charm to her which is immediately apparent.
A lot of this comes through in Joëlle Jones' gorgeous artwork. The opening of the book has Josie dropping by a strange woman's house, trying to sell her Avon products. It becomes quickly apparent that she's Josie's latest target. This starts out like your average 1960's house visit, only to turn into something much darker, not to mention bloodier. Josie's face doesn't turn to anger or malice. She's not taking joy from murdering this woman. She's treating this the same way she would be preparing cookies for a bake sale or doing the laundry. It's just another chore. Jones pulls all of that feeling to the forefront with her pencils.
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Laura Allred's colors also help with this juxtaposition of violence with home life. Everything is bright and vibrant at first. It then takes on an entirely different tone when Josie springs into action. Panels get an altered hue, as if you're viewing them through a colored lens of bloodshed. It's a great effect.
Lady Killer takes the idea of a woman leading a double life and adds a lot of heart to it. It's an ideal mix of comedy, horror, and silly family drama with some damn near perfect artwork. Seriously, after reading this, I want to see Joëlle Jones draw everything.