Review: Lady Killer 2 #1

Lady Killer 2Josie Schuller has it all: A doting husband, two adorable children, a volunteering resume that would make saints jealous. And there’s the side job as a contract killer. Joëlle Jones’s Lady Killer is back with a vengeance, and it’s not one to miss.

The story for this new arc picks up a few months after the last ends, and the first issue of volume two heavily parallels the first issue of volume one. While the story ended satisfactorily with Josie killing Peck and walking away from the agency that later tried to kill her, there was plenty of opportunity to build on the story.

Josie now has to deal with the continuing fallout of that arc and rebuild the relationship with her tempestuous mother-in-law, Mother Schuller. The Schullers have left Seattle for Florida (where swamplands provide new and exciting places for body disposal!) but other than that, life carries on as normal. Jones does an excellent job of capturing the surface-level perfection and entrepreneurial spirit of the mid-twentieth century while criticizing its rigid social structures and gender roles.

While the concept of assassin-for-hire masquerading as a regular person isn’t a new concept, it’s rare for a woman to be the main character, and to have a female main character with a family and children is even more rare. This is only one of a few interesting spins the team behind the first arc put on the trope, something that appears to carry through to the new storyline. Lady Killer hinted that Josie has been an assassin from a very young age, and Lady Killeris likely going to explore that. #1 sets up a lot of what was missing from the first volume, hinting at Josie’s past and the nature of her relationships with her family. Readers already know how Josie does what she does, but it’s the why that really brings the intrigue to the story. Lady Killer already suggested that there were constraints on the contracts Josie took, and hopefully Lady Killer 2 explores why she kills who she does.

Joëlle Jones’s art is the star of the story. The characters are expressive and messy, beautiful and occasionally sleazy. Lady Killer featured ink splattered pages, and while Lady Killer 2 #1 featured the same ink-splotched pages, the overall art and style suggests that Josie is fully in control and more organized than she’s ever been. Jones’s use of heavy inks and Michelle Madsen’s poppy colors create an amazing contrast between tone and action: The art is brightest when Josie’s narrative is dark, just as the inverse is true and the tone of the story upbeat when Josie is brutally stabbing victims. The overall effect is a story that’s as delightful to look at as it is to read.

Story: Joelle Jones Art: Joelle Jones and Michelle Madsen
Story: 8.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Read

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review