Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti & Joe Quesada
Artists: Lee Moder(p), Chris Garcia(c)
The third issue of Painkiller Jane is almost a James Bond movie in comic book form. A grotesque assassin attacks our hero, a brutal fight ensues and it all leads to a terrorist plot as well as the return of some old contacts, Jane's multiple Felix Leitners.
Palmiotti and Quesada relate a slam-bang story that's uplifted by some ghoulish humor, and they also attempt to deepen Jane's character. Last issue, Jane came out. This issue she confronts those feelings as well as her long-suffering medic's feelings for her.
Palmiotti and Quesada have no problem with directing the action, which Moder accomplishes with ease. Moder is also in excellent form when illustrating the subtle propinquity in the characters as well as the various nuances to glances. The trouble is that the dialogue during these scenes required more finessing.
The dialogue lacks the piquancy of Jane's narration in previous chapters, and in this case less would have been more. Still, one cannot fault a book too badly for attempting to generate real emotion between the characters and address these emotions with maturity rather than juvenile winking, so to speak.
How Quesada and Palmiotti take great pains to avoid cliché is another asset to Painkiller Jane. All the characters in the book exhibit intelligence. The writers don't dumb down the characters for the sake of the plot. They let that group intellect manipulate the plot. For instance, the scene where Jane sprays she and her girlfriend, the appealing Ajira, with a substance that will make them stand out to their snipers is just common sense.
Experience comes in handy when facing a firefight, and Palmiotti and Quesada use the experience of the characters to avoid any bad tasting endings. The last thing that was needed in this story was a needless death, to make a point or artificially create the environment for an easy out, and we don't get one.
Smartly plotted, nicely illustrated and with a strong heart, Painkiller Jane is well worth adding to your collection. Jane is a sophisticated action hero for a mature audience.
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