Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Joëlle Jones
Artist: Joëlle Jones, Michelle Madsen (Colours)
Release Date: 8th March 2017
As we reach the penultimate issue of the second volume of Joëlle Jones’ Lady Killer, the repercussions of Josie Schuller’s ill-judged “partnership” with Irving are starting to hit incredibly close to home, threatening to completely destroy the lives of both Josie and her unsuspecting family.
As I mentioned in my previous reviews of the series, the narrative for this second volume has been noticeably stronger than the first, and that trend continues here as Jones focuses a lot more on the impact that recent events are having on Josie’s husband. It’s no secret that Eugene has been having a bit of a hard time of it recently, but to make matters worse he now also has to face the finger of suspicion at work following the disappearance (i.e. cold blooded murder and storage in his family’s icebox) of his boss.
While the first volume saw Jones do a fantastic job of introducing us to housewife-slash-mother-slash-assassin Josie Schuller, this second volume has done a far better job of developing the supporting cast. In fact, the evolution of Irving over the course of this series has been its main driving force as we’ve watched him gradually shift from helpful, well-meaning ‘cleaner’ to menacing force of nature, a change that has never been more apparent than it is here. Seriously, it takes a certain type of individual to still manage to be menacing while brushing frozen peas off his shoulder, and Irving’s actions in the closing pages of the book are pretty damn heartless, even for him.
The artwork, as I’ve mentioned before on several occasions, is quite simply among the best on the shelves today, and the blend of fashion model beauty and chilling, visceral violence never fails to impress. Jones once again proves to be equally adept at illustrating quiet moments of dialogue as she is with artery-ripping violence, and she really cuts loose in the final pages of this issue, utilising an almost cinematic approach to ensure that the level of excitement is cranked up to fever pitch for the finale.
It’s also worth acknowledging the wonderful sequence in the burlesque dancer’s changing room midway through the issue, which serves not only as a perfect example of the sheer beauty and control of Jones’ artwork, but also of the twisted nature of the series as a whole, and – perhaps most tellingly – of Michelle Madsen’s potentially underappreciated colour work.
One of the absolute best comics on the shelves today, this second series has somehow managed to actually improve upon its Eisner-nominated predecessor, providing a gripping story, subtle character development and some of the best artwork you’re likely to see in a comic today. Get it bought