Indie Comics Spotlight: Lady Killer 2 #1, Modern Testament Volume 2 #1, and Horizon #1

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Lady Killer 2 #1


1

The role of a 60s housewife is one rife with casseroles and subservience to one’s husband. The tables would likely be turned if more women had the tenacity that Josie of Lady Killer 2 #1 from Dark Horse Comics has. The issue is written and illustrated by Joëlle Jones and colored by Michelle Madsen.

The killer housewife is back! The Schuller family has moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where life carries on as usual. Josie continues to juggle Tupperware parties, her kids, and a few human heads. However, when someone from her past tails her on a hit, she may be in for more than she bargained for.

What stands out most in Jones’ script is how effortlessly Josie can move between being a devoted housewife and a ruthless killer. Josie has moved on from the events in Seattle, but Jones still manages to make her life possibly more trouble than its worth because of her homicidal tendencies. Josie is calculating almost to a fault, yet there are still times when either her domestic or psychopathic lives are mired by ill consequences. And it can’t be understated how deftly Jones plays with the dichotomous personalities that make up Josie as they’re set against the nuclear family dynamic of the 1960s. Josie is everything she needs to be when putting on a front, but when it comes time to do what she does best, she’s exceptionally good at it.

Jones’ artwork in Lady Killer 2 #1 is meticulously stunning. Josie is illustrated with strong lines that define her as an equally strong character, imposing a somewhat menacing presence when the killer in her takes over. Jones also fills out the pages with plenty of beautiful set-pieces that reflect an air of elitism at points while still managing to feel era-appropriate. Considering Josie kills as a profession, the book could get mired down in blood and gore except that Jones and Madsen convey plenty of violence without the book feeling too bloody. Madsen’s colors throughout cast a pall over the book that works very well in tandem with the artwork.

Lady Killer 2 #1 is a fantastic follow-up to a bold first volume. Josie can handle both of her roles with little difficulty as long as she knows the situation. Jones’ script is a very enjoyable read that moves through pretty seamlessly. Her artwork is equally as seamless, rendering Josie as a very strong and capable woman completely confident in her abilities and expectations. Lady Killer 2 #1 is definitely worth reading if you checked out the first volume, but even if you didn’t read that then Lady Killer 2 #1 is still worth your time.

Lady Killer 2 #1 is in stores August 3.

Modern Testament Volume 2 #1


2

“So you have to tell me the truth, ok?”

There are things that go bump in the night. Some of those things are bumping towards you, while others are bumping along their own way. Friend or foe is a sticky classification when it comes to monsters and Modern Testament Volume 2 from Insane Comics has a little of both. “Schoolyard Master” is written by Frank Martin, illustrated by Adrian Crasmaru, and lettered by Kel Nuttall; “The Great Hunt” is written by Martin, illustrated by Igor Chakal, colored by Stanislav Leonou, and lettered by Nuttall; and “What is He Good For? (Absolutely Nothing)” is written by Martin, illustrated by Noreus Teves, colored by Laura Ruggeri, and lettered by Nuttall.

How would a bullied youngster unwittingly summon a golem? Is it a good idea for hunters to voluntarily seek out the legendary Behemoth? And what happens when the Horseman of War confronts a veteran on vacation? Modern Testament continues to answer such questions with three all new standalone tales of biblical beings trying to find their place in our modern world.

Each of three stories in Modern Testament Volume 2 looks at a mythological monster and the reactions to is. In “Schoolyard Master,” a golem is unknowingly summoned by a bullied student named Joey and Martin does a great job of balancing the Joey’s disbelief of what happened versus his internal jubilation that he’ll no longer be bullied. “The Great Hunt” sort of swings the other way, in that Martin describes humans as bullies looking for a good hunt – only the humans don’t realize how powerful a Behemoth really is (and they’ve clearly never played a Final Fantasy game). The antagonist in “What is He Good For? (Absolutely Nothing)” is probably the most devilish and War’s take on humanity is that without conflict he’s bored, prompting Martin to position him as a being intent on causing strife for fun. Each of the three stories looks at “monsters” differently, but in the end they’re all essentially about preserving a certain way of life.

The artwork throughout Modern Testament Volume 2 is somewhat varied. Crasmaru’s approach in “Schoolyard Master” is emphasized by heavy cross-hatching and reinforces an Earth sense of life that echoes the creation of the Golem. “The Great Hunt” largely takes place at night and Chakal uses the darkness effectively to unveil the Behemoth who turns out to be every bit as terrifying as you would expect. Teves’ work in “What is He Good For? (Absolutely Nothing)” is probably the most normal looking, although some of the characters come across as a little stiff. The different artistic approaches don’t give the book a uniform feel at all, but they each work for their respective stories.

Modern Testament Volume 2 is a look at three of the less attended to characters in monster mythology. Each story bears similar themes of survival though and all three main characters do what it takes to survive and impact those around them. Martin’s script is very easygoing and gets right to the point in each story. The artwork is appropriate for each tale, giving readers three unique ways to look at the topics of each story. Modern Testament Volume 2 offers a pretty interesting anthology that relies on subtle twists throughout each story.

Modern Testament Volume 2 is available now.

Horizon #1


3

“You are certainly quiet today.”

There’s a lot we don’t know about the universe around us. There are plenty of expeditions and spacecraft being sent out that is feeding us tons of information, but the notion of other life out there is still just that: a notion. In Horizon #1 from Image Comics, the concept of encountering other life is explored with vigor. The issue is written by Brandon Thomas, illustrated by Juan Gedeon, colored by Frank Martin, and lettered by Rus Wooton.

Zhia Malen thought she’d fought her very last war, until she learned her planet was targeted for occupation… by a desperate world called Earth. The people of Earth will be told that her arrival on their planet means invasion; these are lies, this is retaliation.

As any foreigner to a strange world can attest, there’s a bit of a learning curve to taking in all the relevant details for survival. Thomas does an exceptional job in this regard, offering the nuances of a new locale in a way that’s as jarring to the reader as it is to Zhia as the main character. This approach allows Thomas to conduct plenty of universe building without just spitting out narration verbatim. Zhia is appropriately believable as she struggles to assimilate the culture of the world and as the issue unfolds the reader learns more about the overarching plot. That overarching plot does feel a little vague as a result of Thomas’ script approach, but it’s likely that as Zhia learns more about the world the reader will learn more as well.

The artwork sports a somewhat cartoony look at points. That approach by Gedeon is very effective, though, and relies upon very distinct lines to define the characters throughout the issue. And considering the first few pages of the book have virtually no dialogue, Gedeon does a masterful job of still holding the reader’s interest and conveying the finer points of the story well. There’s a relatively angular approach taken by Gedeon that gives all the characters a heft to them as they cut into the backgrounds. Martin adds in a vibrant mix of colors that light the issue effectively and help add something of an intergalactic feel to the action.

Horizon #1 is a great first issue that’s very confident in what it’s going for. Zhia is very much a fish out of water, but she has a grander plan in mind that she’ll see through whatever the cost. Thomas’ script is done in a way that makes the reader earn the narration. Gedeon does a fantastic job of telling the story via art in the absence of dialogue in the first part of the book. Horizon #1 is an enjoyable first issue that knows exactly what it’s going for and gets right to it.

Horizon #1 is in stores now.


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