I’ve never read any Painkiller Jane stories before (which makes me perfect to review this), but I do like the creative team for Painkiller Jane #1 from Icon. Perhaps this will be like The Occultist, where it’s good for old fans, but still offers enough to help out new ones and get them interested in the characters? Let’s find out! Is it good?

Painkiller Jane: The Price of Freedom #1 (Icon)


Painkiller Jane is sort of a woman who is hired under the table by her best friend and the only connection to her previous life, Detective Maureen, to handle certain cases the police need help with or would require someone who can take some punishment (Jane has a healing factor you see). Her latest assignment is to keep an eye on Princess Sabina Poonwalla, who has arrived from Saudi Arabia for one reason or another. However, the job isn’t simple when people start attacking her and her security force. There is also a second story that gives a little background for Jane and Maureen as well for the newcomers.

Painkiller Jane 01 01
Sorry Jane. You don’t even need to be near the exploding plane to be automatically blamed. That’s how these things work.

As I mentioned in the introduction I have never read Painkiller Jane before in my life, but this issue did spark my curiosity in seeing previous stories that involved her. The combination of having two stories, one set in the present to see her in action and one in the past to add backstory and flesh out her character, was a very smart move. It helps out newcomers to show them what the character is like and why they should be interested and sates the veteran fans as a quick refresher.

The writing by Jimmy Palmiotti is good. It gets the story going and does not waste a single page to keep the plot and action moving without feeling decompressed. The dialogue and exchanges between the characters are well-done and amusing, though occasionally can be clunky or awkward in some parts. Painkiller Jane #1 has solid buildup and kept me hooked. Overall, the writing is good with an occasional hiccup along the way.

Painkiller Jane 01 02
Now Jane, you have to ask politely, otherwise you wouldn’t get those kind of questions.

The artwork is fairly good looking overall. All of the characters appear different and unique with a nice wide range of expressions in the first story. The same can be said about the second artist in the backup story, but his female characters tend to have the same bodies and faces. Both artists (Juan Santacruz and Sam Lofti) do well in making their worlds look great, have solid looking action, and engaging in some cheesecake scenes (for instance, Jane pulling the princess out of the car through the sunroof and into her breasts).

The art in the first story tends to have an Amanda Conner feel (which is definitely helped by the fact that the artist uses the same colorist, Paul Mounts, to color everything. The second artist takes a more cartoonish, but still serious style with his work. Neither style is bad by any means and both look and fit well with their stories.

Painkiller Jane 01 03
I feel there something wonky going on with this plane’s wings.


  • Two stories that work well together.
  • Good intro for new fans.
  • Great artwork for both stories.
  • Some problems with the writing and dialogue.

Is It Good?

Painkiller Jane #1, “The Price of Freedom” is a solid enough start for this mini-series. It’s an enjoyable, action packed story that will appeal to the older fans but offers enough to help ease in newcomers as well. It may have not been the best comic I read this week, but it was worth my time for sure. Definitely check this out if you are looking for something action filled this week.

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