Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
I was ecstatic a couple of weeks ago when I saw an add in a comic for The United States Vs Murder Inc, by Brian Micheal Bendis. The United States of Murder Inc is one of the greatest comic arcs that most comic book fans have never heard of. I lucked out last year and got all six issues from Floating World Comics, in their discount section. I had heard it had been canceled and was glad it had a second chance at life. Little did I know that was only the tip of the iceberg. It will be headlining an entire new imprint.
The storyline is that after Kennedy was assassinated, the mafia broke off from the US in a semiautonomous zone made up of New York city. There the Mafia controlled New York is fighting a cold war with the US proper. Valenti ne Gallo’s father was a mob legend, and he has just been a made man. He and his bodyguard Jagger Rose are sent on a mission to bribe a US senator, when the politician is killed, it threatens to become a hot war. With both sides trying to kill them.
Jagger Rose is on my list of favorite female comic book characters. She is the mob’s top assassin, but she will never gets the respect that she deserves because of her gender. This is why such a talented operative is assigned to Valenti a low-level mob member.
This comic hits on all cylinders on every level. The story is superb, and the art and colorization are perfect. Though the story is set in an alternative universe than ours, it is during the present time, the retro Mad Men-esque style frames the mafia story perfectly. What first attracted to me to this series is the amazing black and bright color contrast coloring of Tabi Soma. When I spoke with her at Rose City Comicon she said that she and Brian Michael Bendis based the brilliant coloring on a series of Chinese movies.
The first and only arc published by Marvel’s Icon imprint is called Truth and can be picked up as six single issues or a TPB. It was a six-issue run, and though the plotline was wrapped up, it left room for a whole lot more stories to tell. Unfortunately, three years after its initial run in 2015, without fallow up story it was announced that that Icon would not longer support the title.
I was devastated, as far as I was concerned this was the best thing Bendis had ever done. The series had so much more story it could tell. But like Morning Glories and Red One, this was another story that ended before it’s time due to a corporate decision. I was genuinely surprised and elated when I saw the add that said the title was coning back.
Last week at RCCC I found out not only was his TUSoMI coming back but there will not be an entire Brian Michael Bendis imprint called Jinx World. BMB created many titles that are now comic book staples. The most famous is probably Alias, which launched Marvel’s adult line MAX. Alias is of course the title that gave us spunky, snarky female super empowered PI Jessica Jones. He also created the normal police officers in the world of superheroes Powers. Other comic books he created was Jinx (Basically an unpowered JJ) Nearly a 100 different Spiderman titles. 70 X-Men titles, nearly 150 Avenger issues, Torso a graphic novel about The Cleveland Torso murders of the 30’s, and Sarlet a social satire about a womn who is damaged by the police and city of Portland who becomes a violent vigilante.
At RCCC I had a chance to briefly talk with Bendis. I told him that I was really excited that The United Sates of Murder was coming back. He let me know that they had volumes of Murder Inc stories to tell. I also told him how Jagger Rose was one of my favorite characters ever. He said I should be really happy because she will be playing a major role in the new series.
The first is The United States Vs Murder Inc. which came out a few weeks ago, and tells the story of how Jagger Rose became the mob’s premier hitman (err…hitwomen) The story is just as good as the original, and one doesn’t have to have read original United States of Murder Inc to know what is going on.
In addition to a renewed USoMI, the Jinx World imprint will have new Scarlett, and Powers stories as well as two new books Peral, about a tattoo artist/assassin working for the Yakuza, who is looking for a new life and Cover about a spy working as a comic book creator.
I am looking forward to these titles and anything else JW is going to produce. Michael Brian Bendis is only second to Greg Rucka, when it comes to male comic book writeres creating female characters. We see this in his bounty hunter Jinx, Powers’ tough as nail mid rift barring cop Deena Pilgrim, Redhead vigilante Scarlet, the amazing Jessica Jones, and of course Jagger Rose.
So, when you are browsing for new titles this week, let Michael Brian Bendis, Murder Inc and Jagger Rose make you an offer you cannot refuse.