After reading Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich’s LADY KILLER: The Library Edition I can see why Jones got the go-ahead to write and draw Catwoman. The story concerns Josie Schuller, a typical Seattle housewife and mom in 1962 — well, typical if you overlook she earns money on the side as an assassin. In the first volume of this collected edition, Josie has to carry out her jobs, keep her nosy mother-in-law from figuring out what she’s up to and thwart her employer’s decision to have her whacked. In the second, she’s engaged in similar games in the family’s new Florida hometown.
This is most enjoyable, well drawn and I really like that Josie is so matter-of-fact. She’s not unstable or working out her personal issues, she’s just a killer. I was, however, disappointed in the ending; after two volumes of Josie as protagonist, I wanted things to work out better (I’d be more understanding if V3 were on the way but I can’t find any announcements online that it is).
JOAN OF ARC: The Image of Female Heroism by Marina Warner looks at how “the only Saint who was martyred by her own church” in her own era transgressed the standards of gender (fighting and wearing man’s clothes) and nobility (conducting herself as a knight) while presenting her virginity and lack of menstruation (Warner argues there’s good reason for thinking her anorexic) as proof she was transcending rather than transgressing. Conversely, her enemies and judges sought to define her as unchaste, heretical or a witch, then later found good reason for reconsidering (the French king wanted her redeemed so her support would prove he was God’s chosen; the Church saw this as supporting their right to validate monarchs). In later eras she became variously a symbol of patriotism, peasant vigor, Rousseau-ian nature or feminism. A good study.
BE THE CHANGE: Menopausal Superheroes Book Four by Samantha Bryant has the “Liu-vian” metahumans freaking out when their powers run wild; super-strong Fuerte destroys everything he touches while Pam the Lizard Woman finds herself mutating into a more monstrous form and unable to turn back. The adversaries this time out aren’t particularly formidable but the heroes’ personal relationships — particularly Pam dealing with her Mom and step-family — are more than fun enough to make up for it.
WITCHNAPPED IN WESTERHAM: A Paranormal Investigation Bureau Novel by Dionne Lister has the Aussie photographer protagonist drawn into a world of witchcraft and paranormal investigations when a snooty British agent informs the photographer her brother, an investigator for the PIB, has been abducted. Unfortunately the cozy mystery that follows suffers from long, endless exposition explaining the magical world to the newbie so I lost interest fast.
Like that Kana Cold short I read a while back, A STUDY IN MISCHIEF by Lydia Sherrer is a prequel showing how her two series protagonists, a female librarian wizard (born with magic) and male witch (magical talismans and pacts) wound up working together for the first time. The story relies heavily on bantering dialogue but the conversations didn’t work for me at all.
#SFWApro. Cover by Jones, all rights to image with current holder.