by Joelle Jones, Jamie S. Rich and Laura Allred
Rich and Jones have launched a really well made and really entertaining new series from Dark Horse Comics. Lady Killer in its first two issues fit in a good mix of action and slow building tension to make the books incredibly engaging. Josie and her agency may not quite be on the same page at the start of issue three and that only adds to the layers of suspense. After a quite a large teaser ending in chapter two, the series is back this month to see just how the hit-woman handles her new assignment.
In the latter portion of issue two, Josie shows her dual lives in a sequence wherein she offers a light joke about her secret job while discussing plans for her husband’s birthday. It was a moment of fantastic writing. Issue three brings readers in on that party and quickly the story tips its hat for the underlying message of the issue. Josie may be trying to balance her two lives and she might be pleasing all those in her life who are immediately impacted or reliant on her. However, those a few paces away have begun to take notice of her situation and things don’t quite look right. Jones and Rich craft a fantastic sequence finding Mother Schuller confronting Josie about her hours away from the home. The old woman has no real evidence but has noticed some trends. Jones chooses some excellent perspectives for the sequence, placing the vantage point just low enough or close enough. The frames are never too tall or too wide and the characters seem quite close. It is an impressive use of the space and sets an unsettling tone early in the chapter.
As the issue progresses, the circumstances surrounding this little life Josie has crafted for herself seem to only worsen. Mr. Stenholm and Peck have a meeting and each are even further developed supremely by the physicality that Jones provides them and the script of the scene. Peck, who is charming the receptionist while he waits is a great bit of character work and his demeanor throughout the meeting and even after make for some great panels. Stenholm, on the other hand, is as stern as his name may suggest. The two men debate the reliability and longevity of Josie and the meeting is not all that pleasant for the story’s protagonist. The office setting, as well as the scenes in the family home are so well dressed. Jones and Laura Allred are absolutely capturing the visuals in both the design of the room and furniture to the color of the items filling these spaces. The book is absolutely beautiful in its design and the craft in the art only becomes more clear as the book transitions to Josie’s next hit.
The final act of the issue is exhilarating. Josie arrives on the scene of her assignment and the book builds tension over a few pages before erupting into an impressive action sequence. Josie lunges through the house, and the script leaves the dialogue aside and lets the story flow through the art. It is a sequence that is equal parts beautiful and harrowing as the woman and child run through the home. The book definitely does not head in the direction expected, and with only a few issues to go, it will be exciting to see just how much the creators can pack into the next few chapters. If the book is able to maintain the quality it has set for itself in these first few issues, this series will be high on people’s lists for the year.