Josie Schuller combines what are perceived as her social duties as an early 1960s housewife with a lucrative sideline as an assassin. It’s a career she’s maintained for fifteen years, yet lately it’s become more difficult balancing the demands of her employers with family life. She feels those demands have become more intrusive, while her bosses consider she’s becoming awkward and a possible liability. In her line of work that only has a single solution.

Joëlle Jones surely studied old catalogues, car showroom pictures and 1950s sitcoms for hours to create the period detail so effectively. She presents a wonderful, glamorous, sanitised world, the upside of the suburban 1950s, contrasted extremely well visually by the extremely violent interludes of Josie’s career. They’re explicit and disturbing. Her page designs move the story very effectively, from car chase scenes featuring an E-Type Jaguar to a cut away of the secret goings on in the apartments of a tenement building. ‘Stylish’ is just the starting point. This is one excellent looking graphic novel.

Unfortunately Jones’ efforts aren’t matched by the plot. Jamie S. Rich has concocted an intriguing scenario, but also one that remains too improbable for lack of any background information. We’re never told how Josie’s dual career came about, or how she became so proficient, and a plot largely centred on her wanting to escape her double life falters because of this. Some pitfalls foreshadowed early also fade away disappointingly, and why is it only now that Josie finds it difficult to fulfil a contract? The impression given is that Rich planned an all-action introduction, intending to address the obvious questions in any sequel, but even accepting that, other events don’t hit the right note. There’s a predictable progress once the main plot is revealed, too many characters are two-dimensional, and there’s a convenience to their presence.

Lady Killer was successful enough to warrant a sequel, and it’s to be hoped Rich has upped his game.