Art and Story: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Josie Schuller is back, and I haven’t felt this giddy to go to the comic shop in a while.
Lady Killer 2 returns after 2015 successful five-issue run. Joëlle Jones and Jamie S Rich created a great little world for the 60’s housewife/assassin Josie to run around in. It was nominated this year for four Eisner Awards, including best limited run. It was a fun series, despite the fact that I wanted to much more out of the story (if Jones ever wants to revisit Josie’s backstory, please do).
But it’s immediately clear that Jones is trying something a bit different this time around. Things are a lot more personal with Josie. We get to read her thoughts as she begins her venture building a business of her own. Of course that is the business of being a paid assassin.
The Schuller family have made the move from Seattle to the city of Cocoa Beach. Here Jones’ style absolutely pops off the page. The art is filled with the same graphic, bloody imagery of the first series, but within the much more romantic-looking setting of mid-60s Florida. Despite this new setting, Josie is very much up to her old habits (instead of Avon products, she’s switched things up to Tupperware).
Josie meets with her husband’s boss and his wife, and still has her battle with her awful mother-in-law. But she’s a woman of many talents and still achieves being both the perfect wife and assassin. Though Jones manages to throw in some subtle looks of the unrest that’s bound to occur in following issues. Hopefully this means there will be development for Josie as a character as she continues on a much more independent path than the one she had in Seattle.
I’m really excited for Lady Killer 2, and though issue 1 offers some familiar ground, there’s already a taste of how exactly this series is going to develop in a different way going forward. I love Jones and believe in her wholeheartedly. Whatever happens to Josie, it’s going to be fantastic. It’s really great to have these two ladies back.
Lady Killer Issue #1
Story by: Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich
Art by: Joëlle Jones
Colours by: Laura Allred
Ah, the early 60s. A time before the sexual revolution, still resting in a world of post-war fears and communism. A world of the perfect housewife who had long-forgotten the freedoms from the second World War. And in the new Dark Horse comic, Lady Killer, it is also a world where a woman assassin would also make the perfect wife.
Meet Josie Schuller, assassin. She kills Russian spies and still makes time to put dinner on the table. Frequent collaborators Joëlle Jones (known best for her work on the supernatural viking story Helheim) and co-writer Jamie S. Rich have created a main character that somehow has forged a balance between the familiar stereotype of a house-bound wife and a woman liberated through a secret.
Unfortunately, it seems as though Lady Killer will only be running for five issues at the moment. This is especially disappointing considering issue #1 doesn’t seem to give much away in means of plot-line. This makes it both intriguing, but with plenty to be wishing for. Instead, readers are given a brief introduction to Josie and her double-life. The story opens with her visit as an Avon Lady to the house of a Ms Roman.
Mr Roman, or Romanov, is a spy and the next target of Josie. The dramatic angles of the art and funny quips make it quite the opening scene. That’s not to say that the home-life of our assassin isn’t also intriguing. She lives with her husband and two daughters and her intolerable German mother-in-law. The contrast between the two worlds also makes a subtle political statement, begging to ask the question what it meant to truly have the American Dream. Is it really all it seems to be?
The story is a fun rump that is just as the tagline promises, “Betty Draper meets Hannibal!” The plot remains to be smart while also giving the readers plenty of gore.
It will be interesting to see how much of Josie’s life will be shown to the readers in this first arc. The first issue has certainly given a taste that makes the story intriguing. The story is plenty of fun, hopefully more of the story arc is to come in the future. It seems as though Dark Horse will be behind the project if it does well enough. Josie is a heroine just too cool not to explore further – she’s one heck of a killer.
Joelle Jones has fantastic faux-ads that tie in with the comics. They are hilarious and totally worth checking out. You can find them here and in this interview with the two writers.