Darby Pop Publishing/Magnetic Press 2016
Created & Written by AJ Scherkenbach
Illustrated & Lettered by J. Briscoe Allison
This is certainly an attention grabber! The opening is not what I was expecting and to be honest I thought wow if this is going to be what this is about then yeah count me in. the writing is such that you think one thing is going to happen and then you have another idea and the reality that sets in will be nothing you are prepared for. So right off the bat the story grabs your attention and it doesn’t let up. We’re given a motivation for the way the characters are and what line of work they are in as well as being introduced to a number of characters who will make this story as memorable as can be.
There’s a very good use of then and now storytelling going on here. After the opening we head back a number of years to see where all this kind of began. I say kind of because it’s the after effect of something that’s occurred and it leads to one of the most dysfunctional father daughter relationships we’ve ever had the pleasure to see. It’s also the perfect lead in to understand what happened in the opening as we go back to it after that brief interlude.
This is a very unusual book and I have to say there’s enough good, strong dialogue that it makes everything seem normal when it’s anything but. There are plenty of good action/adventure spy stories out there and this is only partially one. I say that because yes there’s plenty of action/adventure and violence and while the characters have constantly changing covers and codenames it’s really about something else. The Agency they work for is one that you don’t want to have notice you. I have no idea if it’s government sanctioned or one strictly for profit they don’t go into that here. Which is fine because we need mystery in our stories so there are multiple things to come back for.
The interiors here are strong and have a great comic book feel to them. Allison has a good eye for storytelling as is witnessed through the use of page layouts with angles, perspective and even the use of backgrounds. There are also little touches that go a long way like father and daughter having the same nose or eyebrows that give them that related look which is subtle but a nice touch. He does some great stuff drawing the reader visually into the story so they can absorb the writing more and it’s nice to see this kind of solid work.
So as we are introduced to this new world of Monica’s, aka Lullaby, and those who surround her the more we want to know more. We’ve seen some of the circumstances that have shaped her life and made her into the woman she is today but there’s also a nice twist to close the issue that suggests that things are still to come that will shake some of her foundation.
Incredibly interesting and solid introduction all around. With a good premise, pacing and story development that includes the characterisation wrapped up in the nice visuals this promises to be something the likes we’ve been missing from the market. A very different kind of strong female lead who is comfortable in her work that would make La Femme Nikita a tad jealous.