Troubles are brewing for Josie both on the home front and at work. How will she handle them? Is it good?
Lady Killer #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
The book opens up with a lively party in Josie’s home and pays homage to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” This provides some massive foreshadowing because this third installment introduces significant changes in the direction of the plot as well as character development for Josie and Peck.
Josie’s character is explored in two different ways. The first is through her interactions and dialogue with her mother-in-law. Mother Schuller might be aggressive and intimidating but Josie stands her ground and invades Schuller’s personal bubble and gets right in her face. The second and far more important evolution of her character comes during her assignment. She is faced with a dilemma and makes a choice that will shape the rest of her story. What is important to note is both her character developments focus on her work-life balance and how the two intrude on each other. It is a really good touch exploring it from both angles, work affecting home life as well as home life affecting work.
Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones also explore Peck’s character, which has been primarily used as comic relief. His character takes on multiple different dimensions becoming the focus of the middle segment of the issue. No longer is he just the handler helping clean up for Josie all the while leering at every woman he sees. He has conviction and displays multiple emotions, namely anger. He becomes a character you can relate to. However, Stenholm remains one dimensional and comes off as a holier than thou crusader rather than a mob boss. There seems to be so much potential in his character that is not being developed.
Jones’ artwork continues to shine. In a recent interview she mentioned she used the wallpaper from The Shining in the first issue and the movie has definitely left an impression. There is one panel depicting an elongated hallway with Josie’s twin little girls (who just so happen to be wearing clothes very similar to the twins from The Shining) walking down it that raises the hair on the back of your neck. She branches out from her top-notch fighting action sequences to deliver a brilliant vehicle chase scene. The chase scene is really helped along by Crank’s excellent sound effects from the vroom of the engine to the honk honk from a semi. You can almost hear the sounds of the chase. One of the most important factors Jones is able to accomplish is her ability to show Josie as a caring, loving wife and mother and then turn her into a no-nonsense hit(wo)man out for blood. It is actually scary brilliant how Jones is able to transform Josie’s facial features and body language from a seemingly complacent housewife into a violent contract killer.
Laura Allred uses some unique filters to highlight certain effects such as looking through the rearview mirror of her vehicle or creating a lights off effect. She is able to effectively use light to highlight the characters, but still maintain the true lighting of the room. For instance the panel may be well lit, but there will be a large shadow or key portions of the panel will be completely black mimicking Josie’s vision.
Is It Good?
This is another good installment. Rich and Jones delve deeper into Josie, Peck, and even Mother Schuller. However, Stenholm remains static. There is plenty of action from a dynamic car chase to a game of hide and seek. Lady Killer remains one of the more entertaining books on the shelves with a very intriguing and conflicted protagonist battling to balance work and life, a struggle anyone can relate to.
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