Broken Faces Comics’ debut series Plainer Jane was one that I discovered recently and after that opening issue impressed so well I was lucky enough to get my hands on the next one.
After the unlikely life of a schoolgirl and killer for hire were merged by writer/creator David Wilburn in that opener, he continues with both sides of Jane Pearson’s day-to-day existence in an issue of two halves. We see Jane try to sustain her home life, friendships & school work as any other teenager would – with an air of annoyance, indifference & a yearning to just get it out of the way to get onto the more interesting part of herself.
The first steps as a hired killer she took in the last issue are still flying around her head, mainly due to the mistakes she made but also because the jobs have been less than forthcoming since then. She’s determined to change all that though and while she has no formal training there seems to be something in her that makes her capable of methodically planning out the best approach to a kill and with as little risk as possible. The first job may have been scrappy but the momentum that’s with her should see her skills improve, her methods get darker and her overall psyche become even more honed to a new life that brings with it the money, fulfillment and notoriety she craves.
David’s injection of detail into both sides of Jane’s life gives an exceptional depth to that central character and while she’s figuring out her way he’s keeping the supporting cast of friends, family and targets well rounded enough to play their part in making an unreal world feel real. Wayne Lowden’s art is just as impressive as it was in that opening issue and with the variation in layouts adding an extra level of atmosphere to the classroom, family home or back alley as she trails her latest kill, it’s easy to see the details in the stark black & white art….which makes things all the more intense.
Nod again to Robert Last on those colours as the blood splattering of red here n there gives the kills either the sinister or brutal edges that they need. Similarly, the work by Tim West on lettering sees a hefty amount of dialogue & narration being kept under control as Jane’s worlds flow alongside each other. Front & back cover work from Ralf Singh and Donna A Black respectively, adds the bookends to another issue in a series that feels like it’s got a strong sense of direction from it’s entire creative team.
Dark, sinister and yet surprisingly well balanced for Jane, this has all the traits of a series that combines two worlds that feel natural when they really shouldn’t. Maybe that’s the fact that there’s a teenage killer at it’s centre but the jobs she is getting seems to fit her psyche exceptionally well and you’re rooting for her at every step in an almost uncomfortable way…but that’s just fine. An indie anti-hero that’s got a worthy disguise but there is a glorious feeling that the creative team are revelling in getting her the kills she needs that will get her to the next level. Hope to see more of this one soon.