With the next issue of Plainer Jane hitting Kickstarter next month I jumped at the chance to check out the opener released through Broken Face Comics.
This debut book from the publisher tells the story of everyday teenager Jane Pearson as she nestles at the sidelines of her school social groups. That ability to blend into the background has proven to be a key part in her branching out from her humdrum world into a far more lucrative life as what appears to be an assassin for hire. That mix of mundane & extreme pursuits has a similarly ordinary beginning where putting an injured bird out of it’s misery has become a catalyst for the ruthless killer we see taking care of targets in the panelled pages.
There are a series of flashbacks from her childhood that shows the route taken to get to where she is now and the simple jobs she took have gradually become more and more involved with much bigger targets yet to come. The balance between her worlds are stark but there’s something infectious about the anti-hero vibe she gives off or even more of a Jane Wick type persona that’s equal parts simple life & killing life which gives off it’s own air of cool to the whole idea.
Writer/creator David Wilburn gives a great sense of balance in the two sides of Jane’s personality and the matter-of-fact way that she progresses down that dark road feels so natural that it evokes an uneasy feeling that’s great at generating an edgy felling to it. The black & white art from Wayne Lowden gives those slashes of red here n there a fitting contrast and with Jane & the group of friends/family we see all harnessing their own personalities, it’s got a solid sense of direction in every confrontation, discussion & misdirection.
The colouring from Robert Last is contained to mainly the red additions in the pages but it really drives home how visceral things get and then how controlled the killing becomes. There’s a ton of dialogue & narration poured into the pages too but with Tim West managing lettering like a ninja it’s all kept in context and with the ability to keep things flowing as it needs to. The cover itself from Ralf Singh is a slick nod to the two worlds that Jane inhabits and a nod to Donna A Black for her work on that rear cover too.
Plainer Jane feels like it embodies the lifestyle of it’s protagonist as it nestles in among a world of indie comics that have a calm exterior and only when you delve into it’s pages you realise the turmoil and entertainment that’s squeezed into ever panel, word and stabbing motion. It’s gruesome in places but then the life of a killer for hire would & should be expected to be that way and in Jane there’s a calm in both sides of her duel life that keeps the developing plot unnerving enough to stick in your mind long after you’ve finished the issue. Roll on issue #2.
You can keep an eye on the 2nd issue campaign via the link below too: