We kick things off with Jane six months down the line where she has left school for a career as a nurse alongside her friend Kat but she still has her assassin work to develop too. The darker side to her working life see’s her new victims become much more noticeable and worse still for her is the fact that her newest targets are connected to The Nexus criminal gang…..so the stakes are much higher without her really noticing.
Things become even more complicated for Jane as both sides of her life overlap when she begins nursing the wife of the Police Sergeant that’s looking into the escalating violence in the city with a particular focus on these recent killings. That clash brings with it more risk and when that’s combined with what feels like a criminal gang AND the police closing in on her, it’s her lack of knowledge about this that means we’re drawn further into the evolving methods of a killer and how close she is to serious trouble.
With Jane seemingly on the brink of discovery (although the Sergeant really knows her story) she’s given a lifeline when he takes his wife’s failing health into his own hands but even that feels like a momentary chance for the reader to breathe. The investigations still continue and the gangland response is being decided on too so it feels like everyone is aiming to get their hands on Jane and I can’t quite tell which would be worse for her.
David’s development of Jane from the beginning has been exceptional and while it’s been a gradual glimpse at just how extreme her choices have been over the first few issues it really gets into it’s stride as the world gets bigger just as it’s about to close in on our new favourite anti-hero. The unlikely nature of someone like Jane blending in as someone plain is counterbalanced with the very real depictions of the actions she takes with an almost casual nonchalance that makes things unnerving and yet I can’t seem to help but be on her side.
That quality in the writing has been key to building these characters and with the art changing hands from Wayne Lowden (#1-3) to Samir Simão (#4 & 5) there’s a definite difference to the styles but the consistent use of black & white with touches of colour from Ralf Singh manages to maintain a steady look that avoids disrupting it’s momentum. There is still a hefty amount of dialogue that seems a bit more invasive than some of the narration or text messages throughout these issues but Tim West continues to keep things in check and not overcrowd the scenes too much.
There’s the introduction of additional flashbacks from guest artist Giuseppe Sabè Di Stefano in issues #3 & #5 thanks to stretch goals from the Kickstarter campaigns and these have much more of an impact than I was initially expecting. A more detailed look at Jane’s relationships and her growing interest in violence that end up giving her more layers to build into a character that you are beginning to understand more with each issue. Kudos to Ralf for the covers as they continue to be the attention grabbers they need to be and a nod to Donna A Black for the rear covers which add another glimpse into the world that’s been created.
Plainer Jane feels like it’s beginning to show just how well planned out David’s story is and with each issue bringing our titular assassin a step closer to the possibility of death or glory, it’s clear that it’s an easy book to get hooked on. That connection with a killer may seem like an unnerving one at first but it becomes all the more realistic once we get to see things develop around her and as we get to know her more we’re firmly convinced that what’s she’s doing is right. The art and splash of colour on the most gruesome scenes packs the punch that’s intended to emphasize the brutality of the situation and while there is alot of reading in some scene,s it feels like Jane’s progress as a killer is matched by our willingness to keep up with every detail that’s playing out. A smarter book than you’d first expect maybe but the creative team are delivering issue after issue as we edge closer to that finale….and it’s a finale that has the potential to blow us all away I’m sure.
You can get hold of the penultimate issue as well as the previous five through the current campaign link below: