Overview

Jennifer Blood #2

Review

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Jennifer Blood #2

Credits

  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Audriano Batista
  • Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
  • Story Title: My Heart Will Go On
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 9, 2011

If  any other writer working today tried getting away with starting the second issue of their latest creator-owned series with a full-page, full-frontal splash of a slobbering, fat mob boss porking his pornstar wife while she oinks like a pig, it likely wouldn’t even make it to the artist’s hands. “Mature readers” is “mature readers” but not many writers are walking around with gonads that large and not many would have the maturity or craft to make the scene work.

Garth Ennis, on the other hand, possesses all three qualities in spades and it shows in this second issue of Jennifer Blood. My first inclination was to describe Ennis’s latest creator-owned series from Dynamite as “What if the Black Widow was your mom?” but judging by the body count and the innovative nature of the killings, a more apt description would be “What if the Punisher was your mom?”

Continuing her quest for vengeance on her mob boss uncles, while dealing with the everyday domestic challenges all moms face, Jennifer dispatches the second of her targets with the same cool, calculated passion as she assuages her bird-watching husband’s fears of their son’s potential autism. It’s this high wire balancing act between the mundane and the grotesque that makes this book so fascinating.

Ennis has made quite a name for himself pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable in comics with ultra-violent action, colorful dialogue, and grotesque sexual imagery. His work on Preacher, The Boys, and The Punisher are prime examples of his mad, twisted genius at work. What often gets overlooked in his books is the care and sensitivity infused in many of his characters and their stories. Works such as Dan Dare and the aforementioned Preacher feature protagonists who are complex, fully realized individuals with motivations not as far removed from our own as we would like to admit.

There aren’t too many writers out there capable of creating this kind of finely tuned juxtaposition I would argue is the foundation of all truly good comics. If there are, then they don’t make it look as easy. In Ennis’ work, the adolescent power fantasy is crystallized and made real by the narrow, focused lens of adulthood. He’s so good at achieving this contrast between the absurd and the real, we don’t even realize he’s doing it.

And so, most of us laughed our guts out instead of puking or lodging a complaint with the authorities, when we read the first page of this issue.

In the character of Jennifer Blood, Ennis has created the perfect vehicle through which to explore this intrinsic thematic conflict. Here’s a woman capable of debating the pros and cons of different calibers of bullets one minute, then rolls out the welcome wagon for her new neighbors the next. Sure, on the surface, this may be an apt description of some form of psychosis or other but it’s this ever-present tension between Jennifer’s domestic paradise and her violent alter ego that keeps the audience engaged in her story.

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