Lady Killer #1
Dark Horse Comics
Story: Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich
Art/Cover: Joëlle Jones
Colors/Cover: Laura Allred
What an incredible start to a [5 issue] mini series! It has been a while since I have found every aspect of an issue enjoyable, a feat Lady Killer achieves with ease! This story centers around a woman in the 50's (at least I assume that's the time frame at this point) named Josie, who is trying to escape the assassin game and have a normal life with her family, all of which are unaware of her previous employment. Before getting into the meat and potatoes, I would like to skip to the extras of the book. In the back there is an enjoyable preview for Hallow County, by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Cook which show cases some fun art and story. Before the preview, there is a letters column called Ask Josie, Advice from a Homemaker. In this column, readers ask questions about subjects ranging from social etiquette to getting blood stains off a carpet. Each letter has the character of Josie respond in a perfect way that makes the character seem real and even more period appropriate. The advice is also pretty funny.
The issue starts with Josie working a job to take out a woman that has way too many terriers. This is a great introduction to the character and displays her resourcefulness and skill, as well as giving a hint at what action sequences and violence will look like in this series, and it looks good! The story then jumps to some time in the future and showcases Josie's homemaker lifestyle of childcare, cooking, etc. More or less (probably less) the household reproduces the idea of a nuclear family. The introduction is quick and seamless and leads right into Josie's past getting brought to the present. For more you will have to read the book, it is an enjoyable welcome for a new and unique character that you can't afford NOT to pick up. (double negatives are hard)
The art is PHENOMENAL! Jones has the characters, cars, and environments nailed down! Especially for the time period. The outfit design is really what stands out, with all of the characters wearing what we have all seen in photos or movies (or perhaps in the actual 50's, I don't know who reads this blog). The characters themselves have very expressive faces that are informative and realistic while their physical action are familiar to the reader (for the most part) and relatable (again, for the most part). There is an interesting artistic choice as Jones adds black ink spots in random areas on the pages. Early in the story blood is shown and the blood is colored moreso black than red, I wonder if this choice is playing off of that somehow. Also of note are Allred's color choices. She has a way of making the backgrounds believable to the world while putting the main cast in bright colors to continuously attract the eye. When Josie's other lifestyle is portrayed in the issue, the color palette darkens, This provides an intense contrast between her light, happy homelife and the dark nature of the tasks assigned to her.
This first issue is a real slam dunk! The characters get enough development to understand them while the reader gets the feeling they will learn more and more as the story progresses. All of the art works with the story to form a cohesive period piece that anyone will be able to enjoy. Lady Killer #1 came out at a $3.50 price point on the 7th so it should still be very accessible. This series is an incredible start for comics in the new year and especially for Dark Horse Comics.