The second issue of this new series, sees the start of the explanations of the various outfits seen last issues multiple number of visits to the S.H.I.E.L.D doctors. So, it’s off the Hellfire Club, London office for the rescue of agent and Queen, whilst dealing with the niceties and maybe not so niceties of infiltrating a bondage session. Bobbie Chase is out to rescue Lance Hunter from the clutches of the Black Queen, without realizing that he himself is on a mission.
Chelsea Cain walks a perilous tightrope with this issue. The scenes in the club could easily have got out of hand and turned this book into something sordid. However, Cain treats the subject matter with a reasonable amount of respect, whilst still looking to use humour to distil some of the sexual context. The dialogue is the key to success here. From Bobbi’s monologue of fraternity’s to Hunter asking for a safe word all the way to a reference about nice boots; Cain is clearly in control of the whole situation. There is even clues given to the bigger story of why does Bobbi need all those check ups.
Artist Kate Niemczyk provides another stellar issue. There is a cartoony style in play, which is tempered by straighter angles. Combined, the work has a similar vibe to Spider-Woman and Black Widow in places, although, it wasn’t until I looked at the issue again did I realise there is also an Amanda Connor look to certain panels. Colors are by Rochelle Rosenberg, who gives the dungeon quite a decadent feel. There are variant covers out there; I have no idea why anyone would choose to ignore the Joelle Jones cover, which is again an exemplary example of the quality of Jones work.
Critics of this book, will no doubt point to the sexualization of characters throughout. But there are a couple of things to consider. Firstly, all the adults in this issue are consenting adults of legal age. Secondly, Hunter had to pay for the privilege of the initiation. In all fairness, Cain casts no opinion on any lifestyle shown in the pages. Instead, we are treated to a smart, sexy, spy woman story that delivers on all its promises.
Oh and by the way, they are nice boots.
Words – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Color – 5 Stars
Cover (Janelle Jones) – 5 Stars
STORY BY Chelsea Cain
ART BY Kate Niemczyk
COLORS BY Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERS BY VC – Joe Caramagna
PUBLISHER Marvel Comics