Review – Lady Killer 2 #5 (of 5) (Dark Horse Comics)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Joëlle Jones
Artist: Joëlle Jones, Michelle Madsen (Colours)
Release Date: 30th August 2017

After an almost six month(!) wait, the final chapter of the second series of Joëlle Jones’ Lady Killer is finally here.  And boy is it worth the wait.

For those of you with fading memories like me, here’s a quick summary of where we are;  after moving her family across the country in the wake of the World’s Fair drama in series one, housewife-come-assassin Josie Schuller decides to go into business for herself.  Sure, the clientele are a little less glamorous, and the cleanup is a real pain, but her luck seems to turn when she meets up with old colleague Irving, who offers his services, rapidly becoming intertwined in Josie’s world.  But, when her mother-in-law reveals the true horror of Irving’s past, Josie decides to cut ties immediately, leading to a swift, violent reprisal in the previous issue – an incident which only appears to be the very tip of Irving’s vengeful iceberg.

Jones structures the issue beautifully, opening with a brief flashback to Josie’s childhood – the first glimpse of her formative years that we’ve been given to this point – before launching into a conclusion which is narrated and paced by Josie’s “seven rules for going into business for yourself” from issue one.  It gives the story a wonderful sense of coming full circle, and while subtly evolving character beats and psychological drama have very much been the order of the day to this point, Jones pulls out the big guns here, providing us with an unrelenting, blood-and-gore-filled action movie of a finale.

The artwork is absolutely jaw-dropping at times here, with the Eisner-nominated Jones taking every opportunity to flex her creative muscle amidst the carnage.  And, while Josie’s exploits have always had a sleek beauty to them, even during the more chaotic moments, Jones embraces the ugly here with some genuinely eyebrow raising moments of violence as Irving and Josie go toe-to-toe.

Jones also adds a new string to her bow with a stunning double-page spread featuring a cut-away of the Schuller household that instantly grabs the attention by virtue of just how different in style it is from the rest of the series.   Oh, and some serious credit must also be given to the slick colours of Michelle Madsen, who is given just as much opportunity as Jones to let her artistic hair down here, seizing the opportunity by delivering lashings of gorgeously rendered fire and gore.

There are some major consequences in the aftermath of the bloodbath, not just for Josie herself but for her entire family.  It’s going to be interesting to see if Jones has the time to commit to a third series given her increased work with DC Comics, but it does seem hopeful – particularly given the shocking cliff-hanger at the end of this issue.  Lady Killer is a series that deserves to run and run, and given the rising trend of comic properties being snapped up for both the big and small screen, it’s surely only a matter of time before we’re treated to a live-action Josie Schuller, right?

In summary, this is a finale which is more than worth the wait, and, as I’ve said before, Lady Killer remains one of the absolute best comics on the shelves today.  Slick, stylish and toe-curlingly violent, this is a series which comes highly, highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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