Homemaker Josie Schuller is going into business for herself, and she plans to make a killing. Literally.
In the interest of honesty, until I opened Lady Killer 2 #1, I had no clue that it was a sequel to a previous mini-series. But right there on the title page in all caps I see, “NUMBER 6 IN A SERIES”, and a little further down, “Lady Killer 2 #1”. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a shame that I’ve never read the first series, which is an error I plan to rectify posthaste. Second, this issue functions extremely well for readers unexposed to that prior story. So not only did I get to read a great book, but I also learned a valuable lesson about paying attention to solicits that clearly label a series as a sequel. Let’s move right along now.
The issue opens on our main character, Josie Schuller, as she seems to be peddling some plasticware to a room of well-dressed, albeit rude suburbanite ladies. Things quickly turn dark however, and it’s revealed that Josie’s priority isn’t as much to sell harmless household products, as it is to cram recently dismembered body parts into them. As Josie perpetrates some very grisly acts of violence, she gives herself a pep talk that sounds like something straight out of self-help literature. This first scene sets up what I assume (and hope) will be a running gag throughout the mini-series. That is, Josie’s cheery and optimistic inner perception brushing right up next to her grim and macabre external reality.
The concept Joelle Jones has here is impressive for many reasons, some of the more visible ones having to do with defying stereotypical roles. Not only do we have a woman cast in the role of a ruthless killer, we have a 1960’s era wife/mother/homemaker in that role. In many pieces set in this period (one notable example being AMC’s Mad Men), we see the workaholic husband leading a double life filled with drinking, drugging, and/or cheating. Very rarely do we get to see this concept turned on its head, and taken even further as Josie’s second vocation is focused on murder instead of hedonism.
Jones manages to take an already compelling story the extra mile by providing her own top-notch art for Lady Killer 2 #1. Not only is it simply beautiful to look at, but it achieves a cohesiveness that seems to be by virtue of jumping directly out of the writer’s imagination. This is highly noticeable in the nuances of body posture and facial expression. There is no doubt that the emotions these characters are portraying are exactly how Jones visualized them. I would be remiss not to point out that Jones pulls off the time period perfectly. The hairstyles, fashion, architecture, and decor look just like late night reruns of classic television.
Michelle Madsen helps bring a high level of authenticity to the art with her colors. She chose a perfect palette to not only represent the 60’s era style, but also to mimic the surreal color schemes you see from that era’s color photography. Madsen also appears to be particularly adept with the use of shadows. Several pages contain a meticulous attention to detail in that regard. I implore anyone who reads this book to really spend some time soaking in the art as a whole, it does not disappoint.
Lady Killer 2 #1 is a compelling and unique tale. A black comedy equally able to make you laugh and make you squirm. Often at the same time.
- Delightfully morbid
- Refreshing reversal of stereotypical characterization
- Easy to pick up without having read previously
- Not for those with a weak stomach