The first Lady Killer series was nominated for several Eisner Awards, and one can easily see why. Lady Killer is an incredibly splendid premise with a superstar artist in Joelle Jones. Jones has fashioned an iconic character in Josie Schuller, the veneer of the perfect 1960s ditzy, happily overworked housewife, but under that veneer is an incredibly violent, efficient, clever hit-person who has gone into business for herself.
The joy in a book like this – and has been since the very first issue – is watching Jones use the veneer to have Josie infiltrate and obliterate the most unexpected of victims. The slightly aggravating part of this, which is seen in this first issue of the second series, is one has no idea why they are being killed. Everything else about this book is perfect. Jones brings a hyper-ferociousness to her artwork and violence; it’s truly visceral and emotive. I could stare at a picture book of hers for hours.
The satire is spot on; observing the cracks in the veneer of the ’60s through such a drastic juxtaposition is a playful sandbox to spend one’s creative afternoons in, but that satire would be more triangulated and poignant if even the most minute of details were added to each hit.
What have these specific unexpected people done to someone else to find themselves in Josie’s crosshairs? Playing the reality of these moments in an already exaggerated situation would heighten the satire in a profound way.
Of course, the other side of this, Josie’s home life, is juggled almost efficiently by her. It seems her step mother knows of Josie’s more violent ways and is set on splitting her up from her son and keeping her away from her grandchild. Her husband’s sexist boss comes to a barbeque and giving Josie a little too much attention. These complications where Josie is a secretly progressive (and violent) woman are the sort of real-life details that give the book and story the conflict and focus they need, speaking to the social satire Jones is shooting for. Josie has found a way to unburden herself from the oppressive, male-dominated world around her, in the most extreme ways.
The real story here doesn’t seem to kick in until the final page, so we’ll dig more into that next month.
Also, worth mentioning is Michelle Madsen’s spot-on coloring. It’s vivid and detailed. It fully flushes out a real world that truly heightens the situations Josie finds herself in. She has not only taken her time to make every image beautiful, but through choice of colors, shades, and backgrounds, each image becomes that much more immediate. Jones and Madsen make an incredible team.
*Be sure to pre-order your copy of Lady Killer 2 #1 at your local comic book shop today!