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Week of Cool Comic Book Moments – How to Create a Stronger Monster

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Every day this week will see me feature a brand-new Cool Comic Book Moment. For this week only, I’ll be specifically featuring cool moments that happened just this year. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far.

Today we look at Jennifer Blood #24, where Al Ewing and Kewber Baal shows us the origin, of sorts, of Jennifer’s father (NOTE: These pages are very much R-Rated).

Jennifer Blood has been an absolutely fascinating series. Garth Ennis was the initial writer and it was definitely one of his lesser works. It told the story of a young housewife, married with two kids who was secretly the daughter of a man who was killed by his five brothers (who were all part of a powerful crime family). Her mother was then, in effect, murdered as well (one of the brothers took her in and basically drove her to an overdose). Jennifer Blood (the name she gives herself) kills each one of her uncles to avenge her father’s death. And that was basically it. Not a BAD comic by any stretch of the imagination (Kewber Baal did a nice job on the art), but lacking a certain uniqueness that we have come to expect from Ennis. All in all, the comic was actually pretty disappointing. That is, until Al Ewing took over from Ennis after issue #6 and wrote the book until this issue (Mike Carroll is the current writer on the series, which is up to #27). In #6, Jennifer Blood finishes getting her revenge. So Ewing was given quite a task. Her mission was over before he even took over the book! And yet Ewing has done a remarkable job in making the series very compelling. I have to imagine that Ennis himself had a lot of these twists in mind, but if not, then I will give Ewing even MORE credit, but even if Ennis had some of these ideas in mind, it does not detract from the quality of Ewing’s writing. Ewing is quite a talent.

The main twists are that

A. Jennifer Blood does not get away with her crimes
B. Jennifer Blood’s father was more evil than all of his five brothers put together
and, most importantly,
C. Jennifer Blood is clearly insane

C is an important point, in that the whole “Anti-hero” thing has been so well-established in fiction that it is refreshing to see a work that has the anti-hero get her revenge and then explain that, yeah, the revenge thing was just an excuse for her to kill people. She’s just nucking futs. She does some things…well, she does some very bad things.

Jennifer Blood #24 comes after Jennifer is finally put behind bars. It is a flashback to 1966, the moment where Jennifer’s father takes control of his family’s criminal enterprise by confronting his father (I am afraid that you’ll have to enlarge all of the pages to read them)…

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There was so much clever writing in the above panels, from the way that the father succinctly summed up each of the brothers (the adult versions are what they looked like when Jennifer later kills them) as well as establishing why Jennifer’s father has to be even MORE of a monster than his monstrous father (that is “the moment” for me, when the father explains what he has to do to take over). Part of what made Jennifer want to avenge her father was that he seemed to be the “good” one of the family, but really, he was the MOST monstrous and here we see that his actions are all the more monstrous because he was the one of the group that had the best chance of getting OUT of the life. He was essentially a fucked up version of Michael Corleone, only he dragged himself into the business.

The issue also introduces the concept that her father also suffered from mental illness, as well, but that comes in a later page. After, of course, he murders his father.

Jennifer Blood is a dark, dark comic book, so it is not for everyone, but it is a well-told comic book that continues to surprise me and Al Ewing took on a difficult job and did a wonderful job with it for eighteen strong issues that were eighteen more than I thought that this book could possibly have.

10 Comments

Being supremely monstrous gives one a better chance of no longer being monstrous?

I don’t think that makes a whole lot of sense, personally. This sounds like a very nihilistic series.

Being supremely monstrous gives one a better chance of no longer being monstrous?

No, being supremely monstrous is what he needed to be to take control of the family, that’s all. At such a young age, he’s likely foolish enough to think that a momentary piece of monstrous behavior is acceptable since he thinks it will be better for his family in the long run for him to be in charge instead of his father, but in the end, he ends up becoming just like his father only worse .

Cheers! Pleased as punch to have something of mine on the list.

Worth noting that that was my last issue – since then it’s been written by the wonderful Mike Carroll, despite the inaccurate credits on the books themselves. I’ve been trying to correct the misconception where possible – obviously, it’s not so relevant for this article, but all the same I want Mike to get the credit he deserves for his work on #25 onwards.

Thanks, Al, I was wondering about some of the weird credits on the book. I’ll make a note of it in the piece!

Looks pretty great! Who does the colors? The book looks a little like Preacher.

Inlight Studios did the colors.

I dropped this after the second issue. These pages are good, though… I may have to pick up the post-Ennis issues and give it another shot.

This has got me intrigued.

I didn’t know Al Ewing had written any of this. I love Zombo and the handful of Dredd stories I’ve gotten to read by him. I’ll have to pick up the trades of this now.

I haven’t read the article to avoid spoilers, but yes, everyone pick up Al Ewing’s Jennifer Blood (the volume numbers on the TPB’s are 2 and 3). These are dark, thrilling comics.

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