Lady Killer #2 raises the stakes for Josie as she works to keep the dual natures of her life divorced from each other. Oh, and she dresses up as an attendant at a gentleman’s club in order to get a mark.
Previously in Lady Killer #1: Josie struggles to keep her family and professional lives separate and there is a brutal murder.
A FINE FINE LINE
Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich share the writing duties on Lady Killer #2 and they don’t make it easy on their protagonist Josie. This issue picks up almost where the previous one left off, reader find Josie on assignment in a Gentleman’s Club. There is a riff on Playboy Bunnies – Red Kitties – and it takes very little for Josie to convince her mark to wander away from safety and into her web.
Lady Killer #2 does a good job of addressing the strength difference inherent in men and women. Even though Josie fights with a lot more grace and skill than the man she is taking down, Jones and Rich let the victim get a few solid hits in before he goes down. The snag solidifies itself like armour around Josie to the point here she is almost unwilling to accept help she is offered – even if it’s in the form of her jerky and slightly misogynistic handler.
In spite of that, Josie handles the situation with great aplomb and is still dragged in to a meeting with her employer. The great thing about this is scene is that Jones and Rich have penned it in a way that could read as relevant to any job. At no point is the deadly nature of his business mentioned or the specifics of her previous assignment. Josie is grilled about her family and where they stand in relation to her profession and by the end of Lady Killer #2 it has been made clear to her that one or the other is going to have to go.
Back on the home front, Josie’s new mark is accidentally discovered by one of her twin daughters and readers are given a glimpse by Jones and Rich that the stakes are about to be ramped up even more. As if being an assassin were not an intense enough undertaking, the age brackets of who could be a possible target has been very much expanded. The writing team has done an interesting thing in this development by facing Josie with a representation of her own young offspring and their innocence in order to provide for them both monetarily and protect them from premature mortality.
Lady Killer #2 has a lot of action and at times a lot of violence, but unlike some other comic books, it’s not bound by the boundaries of the hired-killer genre. Josie is interesting enough and the American housewife stereotype she represents colours the issue and makes it stand out as a gem among Dark Horse’s offerings this week.
This is a cool issue with a unique story wrapped around a fascinating protagonist that I look forward to getting to know as future issue pull back her layers.
LOVELY COLOUR OVER LOVELY ART
Joëlle Jones also puts pencil to paper in the art department on Lady Killer #2 with the venerable Laura Allred colouring. This female team produces a stunning product. Jones draws a striking character in Josie – she is bound by the styles and aesthetics of her time period, but carries enough confidence through the pages to be a modern woman.
Josie stands out from the dark and dull men that populate Lady Killer #2. Although each and every one of them wears a distinct face and they are easy to tell apart the men are very much set dressing, they populate Josie’s world as obstacles to be overcome in order to reach her ultimate goals. This is a really fascinating choice on Jones’ behalf because it so definitively goes against the sexual repression of America in the mid-20th century.
Laura Allred adds spice to Jones’ pencils in a style that is reminiscent of Star Trek: the Original Series. Every colour is vibrant and most of them are primary. They leap off the page and immediately draw the eyes attention to what is often the most deadly implement in frame – for example: Josie is feature in a bright red cat suit the entire time she is on assignment in Lady Killer #2.
The details and development of the art in Lady Killer #2 is intelligent, well-crafted and the product is nothing short of lovely.
THE BOTTOM LINE: SCARY PRETTY THINGS
Lady Killer #2 is another great issue following up a great first issue. It is high drama with a lot of style and promises a lot of conflict to come.