Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Jennifer Blood #1
Ennis & Batista
The latest creator owned launch by Garth Ennis visits some very familiar territory with the invention of the character Jennifer Blood. Ennis has his work cut out for him because the cover alone is going to make most people think that this book is just a female version of the Punisher, one of Ennis’ most notable works. The first issue worked hard to bring the audience to an understanding that Jennifer Blood is not just a leather clad, female Frank Castle but that doesn’t mean the book succeeds in a convincing enough way. The comic is good but just doesn’t clear the bar that Ennis has set with his other amazing series like Preacher or Hitman for an opening issue.
Jen is a mother of two with an uninteresting husband living a regular old stay-at-home mom life. Her husband does extra chores so he can butter her up for a weekend bird watching trip and that’s about the extent of the excitement. Jen keeps a journal revealing that she’s on to the husband’s antics. However, this mundane life is not all as it appears to be.
While writing in her journal about her day to day life, Jen also speaks of secret rooms in the house, heavy ammunition and grounding up valium so that her kids will sleep through the night undisturbed as she sneaks out on patrol.
You see, Jen is a gun wielding vigilante out on her first real mission in this book. Fans of the Punisher and Painkiller Jane will find this in line with those books. It’s a character’s lone mission against the thugs and scum of the night. If Batman had guns and felt comfortable killing is the general theme here. The character introduction, the set up and the action are all very well done and appealing as Ennis knows how to put together compelling dialogue but the book just isn’t unique – yet.
The challenge reading this book is trying to determine why this character is doing what she is doing. She even calls attention to the fact that any of the heavies she’s after would crush her in hand to hand combat. What pushes a character to go into such danger knowing how high the stakes are? The book doesn’t answer it and while there is a certain amount of mystery that is acceptable for comics in general, this book has to find a way to not be a house mom Punisher or else the book will become too forgettable.
The artwork is good but it excels in its brutality. There’s an eight page sequence of some of the more graphic violence you’ll find on the stands today. It all works to establish how much of a killer the main character is which helps to put the house mom bit on such an opposing, almost unnatural spot.
There are few writers I enjoy more than Garth Ennis. I want to love this book. I’m willing to give the book a lot of room to set up the story and the characters. However, this book came in as an average Ennis book at best. He’s created a character that simply seems like too many others and none of the motivation is clear in this book. I need more than just chicks killing men in various (and creative) ways.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles