Lady Killer

Lady Killer 2 Issue #4

Lady Killer 2 Issue #4
Story & Art: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Michelle Madsen

Boy oh boy has it been a long time. And no, it wasn’t me just being really behind (as usual). Issue number three arrive in shops back in November. This is getting to be at Archie Horror-level of excruciating waits. It’s not really shocking, though, considering that Jones has signed with DC as an exclusive creator this past summer. The lady has been busy turning out plenty of art for the publishing giant.

But nevertheless, the return of everyone’s favourite 1960’s killer-for-hire is a very, very welcome one.

Last issue, Josie was given a “gift” by her partner, the increasingly-shady Irving. The gift was the corpse of Josie’s husband’s idiot boss, whom Eugene was struggling with. Josie threatens Irving’s life, but eventually lets him off with a stern “piss off.”

At work, Eugene is questioned on the disappearance his boss, Mr George Robidoux, after other employees told the investigators that Eugene didn’t get on with George. And it doesn’t help that with George out of the way, Eugene’s path to George’s job is clear.

Despite Josie wanting to part ways with Irving, he certainly makes difficult for her. When Josie is caught trying to kill off a “dancer,” Irving appears and shoots the other woman. But the gunshot gives the pair away. Before Josie can leave, Irving asks her why she doesn’t leave her suburban delusion and to stop pretending who she really is.

It clearly shakes Josie up a bit to be reminded that she’s a killer, and things quickly go south for her yet again. When she returns home again, she gets her ear chewed off by Eugene. But before the couple can get into it, they hear the dog barking. Poor Duke is severely injured and their windows are shattered.

Mother Shuller sends the girls off with Eugene as he heads to the vet, leaving both ladies to pick up the pieces of their past mistakes with Irving.

I say each issue that Jones kills it with her art, but it needs constant reiteration: this woman is a boss. She has a great eye for angles and details (both of which are greatly enhanced thanks to Madsen’s colours). The story, though, is really taking off. It’s a much smaller story than the previous 5-issue story arc, which makes me think this series 2 is really a great improvement.

Issue 5 won’t be out until end of May, according to Dark Horse’s website. It’s another excruciating wait, but let’s just call it a great building of suspense.

Lady Killer 2 Issue #3

Lady Killer 2 Issue #3
Dark Horse Comics

Story and art by Joëlle Jones
Colours by Michelle Madsen
Letters by: Crank!

You know, for being such a tough, strong, quick-witted lady, Josie can be a bit dim at times. Frustratingly so.

The whole thing about “following your gut”? Well, it’s a good thing she just flat-out ignored her gut feeling. For a series about a housewife/hitwoman, this issue was a particularly dark one for Lady Killer.

Josie is rather happy with her decision to turn down “the union” and stick with her long-time friend, Irving. While their clientele isn’t exactly high-end, they are making a name for themselves as a pair. But of course, things are about to go very wrong.

When Josie has “Uncle Irving” over for supper one night, Mother Schuller begins to freak out. The woman chucks Christmas ornaments as the man and threatens him with a meat cleaver. Not exactly the poster child for hospitality.

Understandably, Josie is pretty confused by the volatile response from her mother-in-law. So Josie sends Irving out with her husband while while she and Mother Schuller work things out. Her husband (increasingly tired-looking throughout the Florida issues) tells Irving about how he can’t manage his new job and boss anymore as he is beginning to shoulder more work than he can possible handle.

Mother Schuller promises to tell Josie the story behind her actions, as long as she just makes Irving leave. So Josie obediently sends Irving away and prepares to hear what is truly an appalling truth behind her partner’s previous life.

Mother Schuller was a civil service officer for the Nazi party in Germany during the war. She wasn’t high ranking, but was often assigned to investigate someone. One special case was a doctor who was believed to be running a fraudulent escape network, getting people out of Germany and into America.

But of course, Irving’s true intentions are much more sinister, as Schuller finds out. Irving had been tricking people into giving them their money for “safe passage” – but was giving them inoculations of cyanide instead.

Immediately, Josie tries to rid herself of Irving. She arranges a meeting with Mr Hawley from the union. She thinks it would be great to have someone larger looking over Irving, but Hawley immediately rejects her offer as they aren’t exactly members of the Irving Reinhardt fan club either. So he rescinds his previous offer.

Irving has Josie in a bad spot, which only gets more problematic when she returns home and finds her husband’s boss in their ice chest.

Issue #3 was dramatic, and way dark. I do love where Jones is taking the story by building up the suspense little by little. Over the seven issues of Lady Killer, you grow quite fond of Josie and all of her flaws. It will be plenty interesting seeing how she tries to get herself out of this mess.

Why yes this comic did come out on the 16th. But life gets busy and some weeks a girl just doesn’t give a damn.

Lady Killer 2 Issue #2


Story and Art: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters by: Crank!
Cover by : Joëlle Jones and Michelle Madsen 

I don’t know why I didn’t re-read the first five issues of Lady Killer before the sequel miniseries came out, but as soon as I opened issue #2, I regretted not doing so.

As soon as you reach page one, you are re-introduced to Irving Reinhardt, an ally of Josie’s found in issues #4 and #5 from 2015’s run. Good ol’ Irving has been looking for Josie, and has a new proposition for her. Since he’s old and “retired” – he wants Josie to do all the, er, laborous work while he helps her out with the cleaning up (which for a 60’s housewife, is ironically the one thing she’s really horrible at as seen with last issues tub troubles). Despite her hesitation, she eventually agrees.

After accumulating a business partner, Josie returns to her average life and goes to a Christmas party at the beach for her husband Gene’s work. All at the party is Gene’s super sleazy boss, whose dressed like a rather sun-caught Santa, and his wife from last issue. In a rather sweet move, Josie wears a rather unfashionable suit to the party. She’s self-conscious that all the other ladies are donning their new bikinis.

But of course the party wouldn’t be any fun if something potentially dangerous happened to Josie, and Irving shows up and throws himself into her family life. He knows the twins by name and introduces himself to Gene as Josie’s Uncle Irving. And Josie’s partner has officially muddled in her personal life in a big way. But at the party, Josie finds a note telling her to go to the Surfside Playhouse.

Awaiting her is an unnamed man playing bingo. He knows all about Josie and her work – and what happened at the World’s Fair. He also has a proposition for Josie, which I guess that’s what happens when small businesses start to become successful. He tells her that he can provide her with the type clients that will be more of a challenge than the current work she’s been doing on her own.

He does warn her that there are “dues to pay”, but without telling her what those dues are, Josie agrees.

Josie’s rule #7 is to trust her instincts. It’s plenty obvious that going into business with Irving isn’t going to make Josie’s life and easier. And that’s not even taking into account the mysterious bingo-man’s ominous warning. Safe to say that Josie Schuller has once again got herself into a bit of a bad spot. Shame she didn’t following her own rules, though it is a bit more fun for us.

On a final note, it goes without saying that Jones’s cover art is also on-spot, but I do with there were some variants to pick up. Issue one did, but it wasn’t a particularly interesting one. This is a series that pretty much sells itself on style, and how I wish it would exploit that more.

Lady Killer 2 Issue #1

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 #5 review


Lady Killer issue #5 of 5

Story: Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich
Art: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Laura Allred

It is the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962 and despite all the excitement in the city, hit-ladies Josie and Ruby have bigger, deadlier things on their minds. Last issue the two bonded with each other over a common cause: wanting out of their contracts with their lives. This is only obtainable if they take out their former colleague Peck and boss Mr Steinholm.

In their ultra-classy World’s Fair worker disguises (which are like a cross between Jackie Kennedy and Pam Air flight attendants), the two head out into the fair to take control of their fates. As suspected, it appears as though Mother Schuller knows more than she lets on when she recognises Josie’s mysterious accomplice Irving Reinhardt.

The final fight is pretty intense, and things really go awry when things don’t quite go as planned. Twice Josie is pulled away from a major kill to be directed elsewhere. Each time she puts utter trust into her cohorts despite her intuition causing her to pause. Josie leaves not entirely sure of the outcome of the battle, but when she’s caught covered in blood by Mother Schuller, she leaves to join her family. This scene is a symbol for what the entire series stood for. While Josie is good at what she does and generally enjoys it, there are people that count on her that she is willing to sacrifice and leave everything for. In mid-century America, that choice is a luxury not many women would have been allowed to make, but making that decision gives her all the more power.

As the last issue closes, it is clear that something more is waiting for Josie, but that’s for another time. Issue #5 was an incredible closing to the series. The art was as moving as always, Jones out did herself again. The dialogue was kept to a minimum to show off the intense fighting, and it worked all the better for it. The same probably has continued throughout the series, though, that it was almost too big of a story for such a short run. There were many characters that were worth exploring further that never really got developed, but thankfully there was always enough of Josie’s character to really keep things alive.

In Rich’s closing letter, he states that he will no longer be a part of the future of the series as he leaves to be a senior editor of Vertigo. But this does confirm there is in fact more in store for Josie. After the huge success of this book it is entirely unsurprising there is more coming from the utterly magnificent Jones. If the future is to carry on in the same spirit of this extremely enjoyable five issue run, there is so much to look forward to.

Lady Killer issue #4 review


Lady Killer Issue #4

Story by: Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
Art by: Joëlle Jones
Colours by: Laura Allred

Last time readers saw Josie, she was in a bit of a bind. Not hitting her last target finally put her in big trouble with the big boss – and the price is not just a slap on the wrist. More a ‘bullet in your head’ type. Josie and Peck are not particularly on friendly terms anymore. With a hit on her, Josie is on the run from her former coworker, and the resulting car chases are gripping.

This issue also introduces an important new character, Ruby. She’s as much of a sultry badass as Josie is. Without giving too much away, their new partnership promises to be a really great one. What is done really well in this issue, is the really interesting juxtaposition between the blatant mid-century misogyny and the pure strength of character of these two women. That’s what helps really push this comic to a different place. Jones and Rich give their message, but it never feels preachy – it only enhances the colour and story of each character.

The tone is certainly different than the previous three installments. It’s darker, more of a revenge plot, but it definitely hasn’t forgotten about the thrills. There was a bit less dialogue (and thus less quips, unfortunately) than usual, but this was definitely the most fun issue to look at. Jones’ artwork, as always, was a massive pleasure to enjoy. The action moves quickly and it’s difficult to turn the pages fast enough.

Next month’s issue #5 is the last, and it has definitely gone by way too fast. The story line was probably a bit too much to have in just five quick issues. Hopefully this won’t be the last anyone sees of Josie because this story has been a whole lot of fun. The concluding issue can’t come soon enough.

Lady Killer Issue #2



Lady Killer Issue #2

Story by: Joëlle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
Art by: Joëlle Jones
Colours by: Laura Allred

Last month hit-woman Josie Schuller was taking out Russians as a Avon representative and taking on motherhood in the suburbs. This issue’s killing does not disappoint. She’s just as strong and snarky as before and it is spectacular to read. Each panel is filled with fantastic action and illustrations. But while cleaning up the kill with Peck (her partner of sorts who readers first met in the first issue), she’s told that she needs to report to headquarters, which sounds about as much fun as being sent to the principal’s office.


She meets with her boss, known as Stenholm – a big man with a face that would make Reagan cry, and has to sit through a bit of a chewing out. This issue, readers are given a little more insight to the Josie’s past, and it is revealed that she has been a hit-woman for 15 years, quite a long time according to boss man. But Stenholm isn’t pleased that her personal life is beginning to seep a little too much into her work. He demands more out of her work. This including beginning to clear out her timetable. Pressure on Josie is beginning to mount and things are beginning to look a bit suspicious (especially to the also-suspicious mother-in-law).

The next target on the list might be a little more painful than taking out a useless, sexist thug.

Jones’ drawings of Josie are breath-takingly spectacular. Even dressed as a Playboy bunny-type in a pussy cat get up at the Kitty Cat Club, she still looks strong and unbreakable. But as the series continues on, the question becomes just how strong is she? It’s difficult at times to balance a home life and a normal career, let alone one as a secret hitman. Will it have to come down to a choice?

There’s something dark coming Josie’s way and it’s a bit unsettling, but whatever happens next, it will sure be exciting.

Lady Killer Issue #1


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.
IMG_0527Joelle 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.