[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Created by: Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming
Colors: Taki Soma
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Design: Curtis King Jr.
United States vs. Murder, Inc. #2 answers the cliffhanger of whether Jagger survives the final test for the Bonavese Crime Family – survive and thrive in the family or fail and simply die. The brutality of Soma’s colors in Jagger’s over matched battle against a Goliath of a goon is rough for the eyes in more ways than one. That being shared, Jagger emerges on top and we quickly realize that this was a flashback from a year ago. Curtis King’s design is reminiscent of a Walking Dead homage as Jagger’s finished battle with the goon is more akin of making his skull hamburger. The art portrays how brutal this character is and foreshadows how gruesome she will be!
Quickly we are transported to a mere month from her present day story, and Jagger visits the family for a hit assignment,but immediately knows something is up. She is tailed on the way to the hit, and subsequently realizes the hit is her Uncle Jake who has been skimming off profits and is a chronic drug user. His recognition in the irony that the family sent Jagger to kill him and he simply acknowledges that this is the end of the road. However, Bendis leads us down an interesting road. Jagger wants to let her uncle off the hook, but he protests indicating if she doesn’t kill him, someone from the families will. Does Jagger really kill Uncle Jake or does she let him go. We “hear” a bullet but we don’t see a body or witness a killing. We see an offer of cash, but do we really know if Jagger takes it all back to the family or does she skim a part? And when she returns, we see a combination of fear and respect for Jagger as she makes a request of the Padrino to keep her Uncles name clean in the books. From there readers are transported to current day where Jagger and Valentine are conversing about how they got hung out by one of the families and lived to tell about it….however, a plan is coming.
Bendis does a great job of weaving Jagger’s tale into a series of quick flashbacks, but leaves enough gaps to leave the reader wanting more. Part Electra Part Talia Al Ghul, Jagger apparently is leaving herself open for love or is she? Bendis is painting quite a character here with a lot of layers where family is not so much important as survival. Time will tell as Bendis fills in the blanks of a pretty juicy mob tale!
The lack of dialogue in this issue needs to be noticed in that the frames of violence portray how quiet the assassin life of Jagger must be. However, Bendis would do well as to give more a glimpse into Jagger’s thought process. I hope that he will let us in more as the character develops.
Bendis’ prior work entitles a reader to stay with this title as he is laying the ground work for an “on the run” story like no other. You would do well to pick up the first issue and start collecting this title!