Lady Killer by Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich is the horror comic series you’ve been waiting for. Josie Schuller is a flawless example of the expectations for 1950s homemakers. Her hair? Perfect. Her lipstick? Never smudged under any circumstance. Mrs. Schuller is always dressed to the nines and prepared for any social gathering. The only thing that separates this poster girl for domestic bliss from June Cleaver is the fact that Josie spends her daylight hours working as an assassin.
The cover art of the issues included is provided in stunning detail within the volume. Each cover was based on an advertisement from the 1950s era, but has been modified with a sinister twist. (As an example, the cover art pictured here is captioned: “The perfect solution to those problem stains!” Nostalgia meets bloodshed, and it’s beautiful. Each cover is a match made in heaven, sure to be appreciated by horror fans who like black-comedy.
Josie Schuller is a mix of our favorite horror and thriller characters. She has the suave charisma of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and dresses just as well; if not better. She has the carefully curated home life of Dexter Morgan and the same evident fondness for blades. There are two things which separate this polished serial killer from her brethren. One, she kills as an actual occupation rather than simply having a deep-seated need or compulsion to kill. Two, perhaps more disturbingly, she seems entirely sane. The arc centers around what happens when Josie becomes the target of the agency she works for. Her bosses have expressed concern that she is an unfit mother due to her occupation, but more so are concerned that she is an unfit agent due to her preoccupation with her family and motherhood. Will she surprise them? You’ll have to read and see.
The reader can’t establish her sanity with much confidence since this particular story arc is driven primarily by the events taking place and less by character development. Fortunately the creators have indicated there is a second story arc set for release in 2016, so we don’t have too much longer to wait. Will this calculating mother/killer hybrid be able to maintain her double life in secrecy? I hope so. Female murderers who step outside their family ties are few and far between, and Josie Schuller is an immediate favorite.
If you only buy one trade paperback or ebook this year, make it Lady Killer by Joëlle Jones & Jamie S. Rich. We’re at the end of the summer and this still made it to the top of my “favorite comics” list. The volume will be released September 15, 2015, but if you can’t wait that long or aren’t interested in the bonus artwork and content, the issues are already available online and at most comic retailers. You won’t be disappointed!
WICKED RATING: 9/10