Lady Killer 2 #5 (Dark Horse Comics)
Question: when is the monster in your life not a priority?
Answer: When there are bigger monsters.
Josie is a fifties house wife with a loving husband and a pair of twins. Her husband’s mother lives with them and takes care of the kids while Josie works a side job, bringing in a supplementary income as a freelance saleswoman… or so she tells him. Really, she’s a killer-for-hire and one of the best in her field. She worked for a secret clandestine operation in the past but had a falling out with them in the previous series, but she’s a big of a go-getter and not going to let a little thing like having to clean up the bodies get in the way of her making a living by making other people die.
Sure, there are problems. Her mother-in-law saw her in action and erred on the fight side of the flight-or-fight response, though she’s wise enough not to actually pick a fight with Josie in her advanced age. We know the old woman has always had her suspicions and is tough as nails, but this thing is getting a little more complex.
Last issue, we got a bit of reveal: Grandma is a Nazi War Criminal. Her son doesn’t know about that any more than he knows that his wife is an assassin, and Josie didn’t know it either – not until she brought an even bigger monster into her family’s lives.
See, she met someone, an older gentleman looking for a little work on the side, a man experienced at cleaning up messes and making them go away. He should be a Nazi War Criminal, too, but he’s not because he was too much a monster for even the Nazis. His favorite game was finding people looking to escape the war and arranging transport for them out of Europe and to America, smuggling people for pay.
Makes him sound like a hero, doesn’t it? Thing is, he was killing the families and keeping the money and all their things. He was killing Nazis who looked into it. Grandma was the investigator tasked with looking into him and is the one who found the truth, but he escaped using the pathways he’d set up to make his side business look legit and has been murdering his way through America ever since.
The allies never knew about him. But grandma does, and so does Josie and the various other killer agencies that work in the shadows. Josie was looking at becoming a member of one of them, a union of killers, but they won’t touch her as long as she’s with the older gentleman and he won’t just take the hint and leave.
He did, in fact, try to inject himself into Josie’s personal life. He started showing up at random times and that’s how Grandma spotted him. And now that Josie is trying to get rid of him he won’t take the hint – doing things like killing her husband’s pervy boss and shoving his corpse in her garage freezer or complicating her work life and now assaulting her home.
Something has to give and some people are going to have to die, but at least Josie and her mother-in-law are finally on the same page.
Joëlle Jones handles the art and writing and she’s a master at both, setting up heavy inks that tell her story through a black comedy’s pacing, timing, and expression. She’s working classic noir tropes but doing new things with them in a way that makes me think of her lead as Agent Carter’s less patriotic and more pragmatic sister. Michelle Madsen is handling color, and she does some incredible things with washes, light, and shadow, bringing Joëlle’s art to grim and perfect life.
This is awesome and weird stuff that plays hopscotch in moral grays and comes out smelling like roses. It’s fun, low key, and utterly lethal, chalk full of good advice and developed relationships and fifties cliches turned on their heads. Highest possible recommendation.