Lady Killer #1 launches the comic world’s newest assassin – Josie: 1950s housewife. Her typical day balances both facets of her life against he background of classic Americana in a great first issue.
VIOLENCE MEET HOMEMAKING
Lady Killer #1 has all the cool things that people loved about Mad Men without any of the shoe-horned-in misogyny dressed up as “period accuracy”. Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich don’t stumble out of the gate. The issue is called Lady Killer #1 and that is very much what the reader gets – and it’s awesome. The issue opens in sweet small town America circa 1950s or 1960s and feature an Avon lady making rounds. It’s all very quaint and falls nicely into readers’ expectations. This is very much where the thing you think you know will end.
Yes, the Avon lady is quickly revealed to be the titular Lady Killer #1. She waltzes through the steps of her routine with an easy grace – the writing team of Jones and Rich already showing us that Josie is a consummate professional easily on the level of James Bond himself. She does hit the tiniest snag in her plan – nobody is perfect, after all, even the most polished of housewives – and winds up eliminating her target with a brutality that earns the issue the name of Lady Killer #1.
By the halfway point of Ladykiller #1 Jones and Rich have done an excellent job at disseminating the skill level and professional of their protagonists to the reader and we now get a peek into her home life. It is at this point – again, at about the halfway point of the issue – that we learn our anti-heroine’s name – Josie … or at least that’s what her blonde all-American husband knows her as, so we’ll stick with that. Josie is making dinner for her two beautiful blonde girls and her aforementioned blonde husband and his suspicious German mother. Just as dinner is about to be served Josie suffers another of the tiniest hitches in her routine. Yes, that’s twice in one issue that Jones and Rich have made their lead square off against diversity, but conflict breeds drama and it doesn’t feel that forced.
Ladykiller #1 introduces us to Josie’s boss at this point – tall, dark, handsome and a bit of a jerk – so by the end of the issue readers already know that the arch of Ladykiller is going to be the balancing act between working as an assassin and trying to hold everything together whilst keeping up with the Joneses. This first issue is a fun ride, Josie is a badass and the writing team manage to get all of the appropriate information across to the readers without bogging us down under the weight of exposition. The lady in Lady Killer #1 is one cool customer.
Joëlle Jones is a hugely talented artist. I, personally, am a big fan of her work on the Helheim saga and it was awesome to see her take on a different period in history that is still highly stylized, but certainly a lot more modern than when vikings roamed. Jones nails the aesthetic and feel of middle America with an Edward Scissorhands-esque polish that keys readers into the fact that things just aren’t right early on in Lady Killer #1.
Josie, the femme fatale, is beautifully rendered by Jones and that shouldn’t come as a surprise – she always draws stunning women. The violence throughout Lady Killer #1 is handled well, for my money, it is scary and feels very real, never once stepping into exaggeration. Part of the credit for that is certainly due to Laura Allred’s always superb colours.
Lady Killer #1 is a well put together issue, artistically, and beautiful even in the face of it deadly subject matter. It’s a story that will work best a comic book even if it goes on to other mediums and Jones gets the chance to shine in everything she puts on the page.
THE BOTTOM LINE: PICK UP THIS NEW SERIES
Lady Killer #1 is fun, fast and a very engaging first issue. The creative team makes smart choices and executes them with aplomb. It would behoove you to give this new series a look.