“The Price of Freedom” Part 1/”From the Beginning”
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artists: Juan Santacruz, Sam Lotfi
Colors: Paul Mounts
Cover: Amanda Conner
Review by Eric Owens
It should be clear by now that you really can’t keep Jane Vasko down. It’s kind of her thing.
The latest entry into the Painkiller Jane series showcases Jimmy Palmiotti doing what he does best. Beautiful, ass-kicking protagonist? Check. Heart and humor? Yup. A mix of violence, foul language, and nudity that would have Dr. Wertham spinning in his grave? As if there were any doubt.
This time around, the ex-cop with regenerative powers is tasked with protecting a spoiled Saudi princess out to enjoy herself American style. Things don’t exactly go according to plan and the princess is under attack before Jane can even get to the right terminal. Things get no better once she arrives and we’re left with some troubling revelations about who might be behind the ambush.
Without question, Painkiller Jane is not a comic for kids. In less capable hands this book could easily be a cheap, exploitative, T&A-filled, bloody mess. Palmiotti and Santacruz know how to dial it back just enough to keep things from going over the top while still having fun with the genre’s tropes.
The phone conversations between Jane and her best friend Maureen that bookend the first story set up the relationship expanded upon in part two. There’s another nice action sequence, but the real focus of this story is the history between the two women dating back to their days in the police academy. They’ve been through a lot together and they sound like old friends in their line of work should sound. If you miss this part, you’re missing out a lot of important characterization that elevates Jane beyond just another tough girl with a gun. Although Lotfi’s art here is very different from Santacruz’s, it gives the characters a youthfulness befitting the story.
Amanda Conner’s cover is nothing like her usual curvy style. That said, it looks fantastic. If Jane ever gets a movie in theaters (or at least another movie on a TV channel that can do her justice), they’ve already got the poster.
Jane’s come back from three previous series that haven’t made it past a half-dozen issues each and short-lived TV show. Let’s try to keep her around for a while this time.
Eric has nearly overcome his Twitter addiction, but you might be able to catch him under @ericdowens.