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“LADY KILLER #1” (Comic Book Review)

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If there is one thing that the 1950’s are best known for, it’s cold war paranoia. With every fire drill, potential Russian invasion and failed space race marking another notch in the Communist agenda, imagination ran wild with the possibility of foreign invasion. Mix this with Cuban political ties and rumored super-spies right under the suburban family’s nose, it was truly a time to be alive. 

Of course, with so much danger freely running on our glorious, American streets, only the hard working dedication of our men and women stood between us and total annihilation. Enter Josie Schuller, the perfectly primped, Avon Lady, married mother of two with a very nasty secret: she kills people for the government. Fresh from Dark Horse’s 2015 releases, LADY KILLER is just as much splash-page gore as it is a biting commentary on American society, creating a well-balanced work for both fans of horror and of smart political thrillers.

Lady Killer #1 isn’t so much a beginning of a story arc as it is an introduction to the ins-and-outs of Mrs. Schuller’s days. The comic opens up as she knocks on the door of a satisfied Avon customer, determined to sell another round of cosmetics for the busy woman in all of us. As the disgruntled house owner lets her in, we are treated to a delightful series of misadventures at cold-blooded murder as Mrs. Schuller attempts to take the life of the now revealed Ms. Romanov, a Russian spy. After successful and somewhat bloody dispatch into the next life, Mrs. Schuller goes about her normal day of making dinner, playing with her children, and greeting her husband from work. Of course, there is no rest for the weary as she is swiftly requested for another assassination, although this one is a little less to her liking.

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As stated, the first issue does little in the way of a presenting an arc, instead reading more like a commercial of what may come. While the lack of uncertainty of what the actual story line is can be a bit frustrating, the “preview” does offer some pretty good possibilities for the future. Each of the characters presented, from Mrs. Schuller to her mother-in-law to Schuller’s flirty colleague, have subtle nuances in them that really brings out each personality. 

Within these short pages, writers Joelle Jones and Jaime S. Rich manage to create surprisingly well-rounded individuals that surpass the “mud-people” archetype that can easily destroy a new series. There is also a great balance between Schuller’s private life and public life, leaving the reader to reexamine how much we really know about our neighbors. Schuller’s world reveals a darker side to the American dream and what it really takes to keep that dream from ending.

The art by the co-writer Jones is definitely the stand out of the entire work. Sharp, precise work and smooth angles make LADY KILLER easily one of the more well-drawn works in the current comic market. While it may sound like an exaggeration, one quick look reveals an art style that not only doesn’t slack on the details, but in fact, adds hidden Easter eggs though out the work, such as the SHINING-inspired wallpaper in Romanov’s house. There are no smudged over facial expressions or unsightly, spotty inking, but well-developed comic art that combines that 50’s charm with the high powered action of modern works. Jones also plays well with unique viewpoints, creating a comic that moves like a TV show. And though there’s not much to go on with the first issue, LADY KILLER does the best with what it’s got, and for this writer, its best is looking pretty good.

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About the author
Svetlana Fedotov http://facebook.com/vladkicksass
Svetlana Fedotov hails from the wild woods of the Pacific Northwest. She loves horror and comic books, and does her best to combine those two together at any cost. She also writes for the horror site Brutal as Hell and sometimes for the magazine Delirium. Svetlana has recently released her first novel, Guts and Glory, under the pen name S.V. Fedotov on Amazon digital.
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