The murky mid-nineties Seattle setting is really working for me in this storyline. The 1940s and 1970s are fairly standard Noir time periods, but the 90s? Yeah, that’s something new, and it’s a lot of fun.
I also like how this story is changing my perception of Josephine. In previous issues, she’s been the victim, but here, she’s, if not the villain, then at least the catalyst for all of the bad things. The opening few pages show us the secret behind Wulf, the serial killer cop who had Jo captured last time. Why is he serial killer? Well, it’s Jo’s own fault. Wulf ran into her as a child, and came under her ‘spell’, and since then he’s tried to find her again, killing women who look like her. I really like this idea, and it shows just how dangerous Jo can be.
But of course, she’s managing to be plenty dangerous on her own. Waking up with amnesia, she’s taken in by Lance and his band, and well, she’s causing trouble. All of the men are falling in love with her, and because she has no memory and no knowledge of her curse, she’s reciprocating and having sex with them. I’m sure this is going to lead to all kinds of messed-up shit in future issues, and I can’t wait to see it.
The flashback scenes with Jo’s friend Gavin show that, prior to being kidnapped by Wulf, Jo was trying to control her power, to not allow any men to touch her, but now? She’s out of control, and that means she’s dangerous. Especially since Lance wants to put her in a music video. What’s going to happen when Jo’s power affects every man who watches MTV? Brubaker is weaving a tangled web here, and, in the best Noir tradition, it’s all going to come crashing down on everyone’s heads. I’m mixing metaphors, I guess this web is made of bricks or something.
Brubaker also fills us in on more of Lance and his band’s back-story, which is interesting. Brubaker lived through this time period in Seattle himself, so you can tell he’s really enjoying himself here. Although the image of Skip crying as he jerks off his red raw penis is not enjoyable at all!
Sean Phillips’ art was of course, excellent, I have run out of words to praise how perfect the collaborations between these two are. I will say that this issue is probably the most sexually explicit so far, have we seen Jo nude before? I can’t remember. This is just a truly great comic, you should be buying it. And plus, there’s an awesome preview for Velvet in the back, that book looks amazing too. I may miss Bru on superhero comics, but his indie work is still so good.