LADY KILLER #1
Written by Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
Art by Joëlle Jones
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 7, 2015
Lady Killer is clever, fun, and has the potential to be a standout book. Joelle Jones has never been more in her element, and the story she’s concocted with Jamie S. Rich is both bloody and beautiful. After reading this book, I suddenly wanted to rewatch a version of Happy Days where Mrs. Cunningham solves all her family’s problems with an axe.
It’s too soon to see where the plot is taking us, but the first issue neatly sets up the premise – the American Housewife, fabled relic of the mid-20th Century, is secretly an assassin for hire. She executes a hit and gets home in time to shower, change, and get dinner on the table for her idyllic family. We even have the meddling mother-in-law trope, though I’m 90% sure there is something up with that old German lady. At first blush, Josie, our protagonist, seems a bit loosey-goosey with her cover – or her partner does – but the book focuses more on her work than on her home life, and to be honest, that’s why we’re all here.
Jones art is, without a doubt, the big draw here. If you follow her on Tumblr, you know she’s a big fan of the mid-20th century aesthetic – from the 30’s through the 60’s – and her passion for the look and feel of the 1950’s really shines. Hair, makeup, dresses, shoes, even the layout of the kitchen wraps you up and transports you. Even the way the clothes hang on each character differs, and conveys something about the person’s role or personality.
Jones’s sharp lines are complimented by Laura Allred’s colors – everything is clean and bright, even when covered in blood spatter. And that’s another thing Joelle Jones is great at: brutal violence without a lot of gore. You can see it in the Helheim books, and you see it here too. And even drenched in blood, everyone looks fantastic. It’s all so rich and sexy, even the worn-in little living room. The art alone is enough for me to buy this book, but art and the potential for a fun little twist on a much idealized time in American history make it an even easier sell.
Sort of like how Mad Men took the rich visual glamour of the early 60’s and drenched it in alcoholism, failed relationships, and child neglect, Lady Killer upends the story of the Cleavers with a literal cleaver. It’s always fun to take a lighter look at the darker side, and this book does it with both style and substance.
The Verdict: 8.5/10