The Kitchen #5 forces Tommy to make his allegiance known and features a betrayal by Jimmy.
Previously in The Kitchen #4: All the men were let out for prison early, complicating Angie, Kath and Raven’s plans.
GREAT CRIME FICTION
Ollie Maters has an amazing story going on in this series and the Kitchen #5 really ramps up the drama for our three female leads: Kath, Raven and Angie. Having their men back on the streets and back in their lives means they are suddenly at odds with their formers lovers, on the brink of a turf war, and strong statements are required on all fronts in order to determine who will surface on top.
Kath and Raven have been at odds throughout the series, but Masters really puts the pressure on in the Kitchen #5. Criminals with a moral code always make for interesting reading and these women are no different. Raven, secure in her staunch Irish Catholic upbringing, finds herself at odds with her sister Kath over matters like: should they be pimping out prostitutes? Should they even be friends with prostitutes? Is there any room left for empathy in their new line of work?
Raven’s strong moral stances are thrown into doubt – to the points where Masters has made a hypocrite out of her – in the pages of the Kitchen #5 when she goes on to throw herself headlong into her affair with Tony. Tony represents Raven, Kath and Angie’s enemies and the type of men in the world whose overt misogyny is not only keeping them down, but will likely end bitterly – if not mortally – for them. Masters does a great job at balancing the questionable moralities his protagonists carry around and manipulating them in a way so as to create drama amongst Kath, Raven and Angie and spark cracks in their edifice that seem doomed to be exploited by their respective men in coming issues.
Masters has posed some heady questions to his Hell’s Kitchen housewives and the biggest one that lingers over them in the Kitchen #5 is how Kath, Raven and Angie are going to keep earning and protect their business aspects, while not being undermined as a result of their gender. In an interesting reversal of gender roles their hitman Tommy takes a physical blow for their little crime family just in time to turn this frustration around, channel it through Angie and launch a violent attack on a competitor. The transfer of frustration and violence from the female gangsters of the Kitchen #5 to the representatives of those who stand in their way speaks to the deep psychological level Masters has crafted this story on, while simultaneously offering readers a peek at the levels to which these characters are willing to go to in order to assure success.
In the final pages of the Kitchen #5 Masters drops a big betrayal at the hands of Kath’s husband (ex-husband?), Jimmy that is poised to topple the empire that she has built in his absence. This issue is full of drama, the stakes are developed methodically and readers can’t help but want more when it’s over.
Ming Doyle does great work in the pages of the Kitchen #5. It is a period piece in the truest sense and a lot of what makes it believable and dark rather than cartoonish is that Doyle has done such great research. She excels in using fabrics and clothing to tell readers things about the characters – their status, their sense of self, the type of work they do in the community.
Another great strength of Doyle’s work on the Kitchen #5 is that he draws her women hard. At certain moments Angie, Raven and Kath are quite lovely, but they wear the stress of their new professions on their faces. They look like real people and in a world of highly stylized cape and cowl stories that is really cool to see. Doyle also draws her leading ladies with the body shapes of real women, which is something else that’s great to have in independent comic books.
Jordie Bellaire is a superstar colourist who breathes both life and edge into Doyle’s work. The Kitchen #5 is alternately bright and dull to subtlety mirror the tone of the scene taking place on the page. Bellaire’s colours also enhance Doyle’s design of New York City. The city and the neighbourhood shape the characters in this narrative and the danger of the setting is visually evident from the get go. Hell’s Kitchen is powerful and it makes Kath, Raven and Angie rise to its level in order to survive.
The Kitchen #5 is a great looking comic issue.
BOTTOM LINE: PICK THIS UP
The Kitchen #5 is awesome. It’s unlike anything that is being published, particularly considering the influx of cosmic stories, it focuses on women, it does crime right and it’s a period piece that is enhanced by it historical setting. The creative team has done great work. You’ll like this.
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