Wednesday, June 12, 2019


DC COMICS/Jinxworld – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Brian Michael Bendis
ART: Michael Avon Oeming
COLORS: Taki Soma
LETTERS: Carlos Mangual
EDITOR: Michael McCalister
COVER: Michael Avon Oeming
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2018)

Rated “M” for “Mature”

United States vs. Murder, Inc. created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming

United States vs. Murder, Inc. is a new comic book series from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming.  It is a follow-up to their 2014-15, six-issue miniseries, United States of Murder Inc., which was published by Marvel Comics' Icon imprint.  Colorist Taki Soma and letterer Carlos Mangual complete the new series' creative team.

The United States of Murder Inc. imagines an alternate history for the United States in which the American Mafia did not lose its war with the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI).  Instead, the “Five Families” forced the government of the United States to concede most of the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., the city of Chicago, and parts of Nevada to them.  This area controlled by the families is euphemistically called “the territories.”  The series focuses on two members of the Bonavese crime family, Valentine Gallo, who recently became a “made man,” and Jagger Rose, a hit-woman for the family, who must uncover a conspiracy for which they have been blamed and marked for death.

United States vs. Murder, Inc. #1 opens in a world in which “the five families” of organized crime still maintain a stranglehold over part of the United States of America.  Decades ago, the U.S. government found itself forced to give up part of the country or lose all of it.  Now, the unrest between the rest of America and the families has come to a boil.  A war between the forces of the American government and the American mafia is about to begin.  No one is really ready for that, and newly made man Valentine Gallo and mob hit-woman Jagger Rose must choose sides.

The drama begins with the origin story of Jagger Rose, the first female to become a hit man for the Bonavese crime family.

United States vs. Murder, Inc. #1 has the misfortune of following the six pulse-pounding issues of The Unites States of Murder Inc.  The second series, however, turns misfortune into pure gold.  I do not want to spoil anything, but I can say that Bendis' story and script are killers.  He does not miss a beat, making United States vs. Murder, Inc. #1 seem like the seventh issue of the original series.

Michael Avon Oeming's art is more stylish than ever.  Elastic and expressionistic, it moves the story forward, while being intimately connected to the prior work.  Taki Soma's two-fisted coloring, especially the reds and blues recreate the sexiness and eroticism of classic Film-Noir cinematography.  Letterer Carlos Mangual uses fonts and word balloons to give even the most mundane stories at least a little of that magic that comic books should have.  Here, Mangual does not have to rescue the Bendis-Oeming team; he just make the work even more magical.

As you can see, I am all in on this continuation of one of the truly great recent crime comics.  Please, give United States vs. Murder, Inc. #1 a try.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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