I volunteered to review this new release from Dynamite because it sounded like it could be fun or at the very least a spot of entertaining, print-based, graphic violence (okay, so I had been having a rough week). While Jennifer Blood #12 definitely delivered on the graphic violence side of the equation, I found there to be a distinct lack of entertainment value — unless you are just into gratuitous violence and splatter shots, in which case you will love it.
A continuing story from writer Al Ewing and illustrator Kewber Baal, Jennifer Blood is a housewife by day, vicious vigilante by night, seeking justice for her slain family members. Her husband doesn’t know what she does when she isn’t playing ‘happy homemaker’, but her son and now her creepy neighbor do. She is currently chasing a singer/celebrity who is also something of a supernatural amazon warrior queen, her sidekick and the three ‘ninjettes’ who are children of about 5-6. Talk about a wholesome family environment!
That said, I think the ‘mild-mannered housewife by day, moonlighting as a vixen vigilante’ storyline isn’t the problem. Although it isn’t a new storyline by any stretch of the imagination, it is an age-old tale of familial vengeance — and who doesn’t like a spot of vengeance in the name of family honor? Nor do I think the problem is the Baal’s graphics, which are gritty and highly detailed — too much so (perhaps) in some places. Of particular note is the intrinsic movement seen in some of the pages, both the movement of action in the panels themselves and the movement/placement of panels on the page.
While Al Ewing was arguably one of the shining stars at AD 2000, his writing in Jennifer Blood just feels like a rehashing of Kill Bill to me — complete with oblique personal dialogue and bad-guys who have the most bizarre speech patterns under the sun. And really, in many ways the very premise of Jennifer Blood is just Kill Bill by another name, from the vengeance fueled violence, through to the hacked off bob (just substitute brunette Blood for blonde Thurman)
All that aside, I am willing to give Ewing the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he is merely fulfilling a plot-line that was set in motion by the series founder Garth Ennis, who left the project after completing the first story arc.
If you are out for gratuitous violence and splatter shots that have a distinctly Tarantino-esque vibe to them, then Jennifer Blood will definitely get your blood pumping.