United States vs. Murder, Inc. #2 Review



A strong follow-up issue that begins to reveal the deeper story.

In a world where killing with impunity and being better than the next guy can meanthe difference between being alive or dead, there are no second chances. The end of the last issue was proof of that, as Jagger learned the only way to be trusted by the gangster family was to fight to the death. Well, they also wanted her to prove a girl could be a good hitman. This second issue picks up where the last left off: namely Jagger’s teeth being kicked in.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

In a world where the five families of Murder, Inc. never gave up their stranglehold on parts of America, the U.S. president tried to pit them against one another and failed. Badly. Now the families are united in their common cause. And there will be blood.

Why does this matter?

This is one of a few Jinxworld series DC Comics is curating with Brian Michael Bendis after he moved the line over from Marvel. So far other series in the line like Cover and Pearl have been exceptional. This series is also drawn by Michael Avon Oeming, who brings a unique and colorful style that spins the violent drama on its head.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

What a beautiful page. Credit: DC Comics

You can break this issue down into three sequences, each taking place at different times in Jagger Rose’s life. This structural break helps catch readers up to speed and also understand where her head is at in the present. Much like in real life, Bendis shows us the things done to Jagger took place over years and it has all built up to the Jagger we see on the last page. She’s capable of anything, even the last thing she should be contemplating, but structured the way it is we can understand her and root for her.

Structurally, this issue also shows different sides of Jagger, allowing readers to understand what she’s capable of emotionally and physically. The issue opens with Jagger taking on a guy bigger than her and probably already 50 people deep into murdering. Oeming draws a fantastic scene, blowing up the layout when necessary or beautifully rendering close up shots (see below). The way he structures a page is quite something, especially when you take into account how bonkers he can get with series like Cave Carson. Here it’s subdued but creative in a way that helps tell the story. The opening full-page splash of New York is downright gorgeous, too.

Dialogue wise — and how can you not talk dialogue when reviewing a Bendis comic — this issue does a good job handling the repetitive nature of people talking as well as the quiet beats in between. This issue shows how silence, or in this case lack of dialogue, can tell you more about a character than any speech.

One of the coolest cracks I’ve ever seen. Letters by Carlos M. Mangual. Credit: DC Comics

It can’t be perfect can it?

The cliffhanger leaves you hanging in a way that is a bit of a letdown. You’re going to guess what may come next, but it’s a bit limp not only in the dialogue but narratively as well. I’m curious how much of a smash cut we’ll get in issue #3, because if it’s dramatic as hell it may be worth this last panel here, but as it stands I wanted more.

Is it good?

A great issue that jumps around narratively, revealing different aspects of the lead character very well. This is a uniquely entertaining crime drama you shouldn’t miss because of the creative ways the story is being told.

United States vs. Murder, Inc. #2
Is it good?
A great issue that jumps around narratively, revealing different aspects of the lead character very well. This is a uniquely entertaining crime drama you shouldn't miss because of the creative ways the story is being told.
A well structured issue that reveals the hardships and personality of Jagger well
Visually stunning at times always telling a good story
The final panel and cliffhanger is limp and left me wanting
9.5
Great