Review by Frank Plowright
Norwegian cartoonist Jason’s work here and elsewhere is an odd mixture of emotional detachment and compelling plot. This title alone is an attention-grabber, but although it comes to pass, the tale between the covers is of romance and redemption, populated, as usual, by Jason’s poker faced anthropomorphic animals
We’re immediately thrown into an odd world where a hired killer is carrying out a sniping assassination while his obviously long-suffering girlfriend distracts him with sexual talk. The assassin works from an office, his daily routine a grind as he meets person after person with a grudge, or hard done by. Jason delivers this via a repetitive sequence of faces as seen on the opposite side of a desk, their protracted justifications eventually reduced to just the status of the proposed victim. The killer requires no moral exoneration, only payment, and in turn has to beware becoming a target himself.
The mixture of mundane interviews and murder is thrown into disarray by a new client who wants Hitler killed at a time before World War II kicks off. He’s designed a time machine, then spent fifty years charging it for a single task. The machine can now make one trip into the past and a return trip to the present after the deed is done.
It doesn’t work out that way, however, and Jason toys with the possibilities of time travel in dropping his plot ever further into complexity. It ultimately becomes a moving story of redemption, of a love that can’t occur in the present, but blossoms through absence and lives lived elsewhere. Hitler is a maguffin, only having a bearing on the plot in how he prompts other cast members
Jason’s characters have a stiff formality that works for this plot, going about their business in stoic fashion, never surprised by anything that occurs. The flat colouring is the work of Hubert, using a limited selection of tones to accentuate the deadpan nature of the story.
All Jason’s work has a memorably off-kilter resonance, and I Killed Adolf Hitler will stay with you far longer than the slim page count might indicate.