Published on February 3rd, 2016 | by Carli Spina
Lady Killer Review
Author: Jamie S. Rich
Illustrator: Joëlle Jones
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
The conceit of this comic is simple: What if a housewife in Midcentury America was secretly an assassin on the side? From this jumping off point, Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones create a picture of a world that looks a lot like Mad Men crossed with a Quentin Tarantino movie. The story centers on Josie Schuller, who is a seemingly perfect housewife with stylish clothing, a happy husband, two adorable children, and a suspicious mother-in-law. In addition to all of this, she also has a successful side business as a paid killer, unbeknownst to her family.
The book doesn’t ease readers into the subject matter. Instead, it opens with Josie out on assignment and readers quickly realize that she is willing to go the distance to ensure that her hits are carried out. In a bit of thematic whiplash that sets the tone for the story as a whole, readers jump from her first assassination to her at home cooking dinner for her family. Over the course of the rest of the book, Josie struggles to balance these two sides of her life, a struggle which is hampered by her increasingly pushy handler. Going into too much more depth risks giving away the story, but interspersed with impressive action scenes is an equal amount of emotional growth, making Lady Killer a satisfying and entertaining read.
Though the story here is very engaging, it is the artwork that really stood out in my opinion. Joëlle Jones has succeeded in bringing to life a different time period while simultaneously conveying emotion, particularly Josie’s emotions, throughout the book. In addition to the great artwork in the story itself, the collected volume also includes Sketchbook content that shows how Josie’s character was developed and includes spoofs of ads from the period.
This is a fun book for older teen and adult comic book fans. The violence may be a bit intense for younger audiences and some fans who prefer to avoid violence in their comics, which is why I have not given this five stars in the category of suitability for libraries. However, if your library collects for older comic book fans, this is a great new comic to add to your list. It is a good option for patrons who like content set in the 1950’s and 1960’s, fans of Mad Men, and those who like stylish action movies. It is also a great book to recommend to anyone with an appreciation for strong artwork in their comics.