Monday, November 28, 2016
"What she doesn't know won't hurt her."
The life of a spy is nothing if not exciting. There are plans to steal, innocents to seduce and a whole host of other fun and/or exciting duties that come along with being a spy. In Sweet Lullaby #1 from Darby Pop Publishing, Lullaby is born and raised a spy. The issue is written by AJ Scherkenbach and illustrated by J. Briscoe Allison.
Lullaby is a strong-willed, 2nd generation covert assassin, trained from a very young age by her father, Z. Typically, she adopts a new look and identity for each mission. And upon receiving orders to “terminate,” Lullaby does so with clever — and sadistic — precision. But, Lullaby‘s black and white world is about to turn gray. And that means the streets could soon run red.
Scherkenbach is attempting to do a lot in Sweet Lullaby #1 and it might be a little too ambitious. There's a clear story to be told that's rife with plenty of inside talk and a unique universe that has a lot of intricacy to it. Scherkenbach sets up this world in a pretty erratic way though, jumping back and forth in time in focusing on Lullaby, emphasizing her youth and the supposed loss of her mother as it acts as the catalyst for her to become a covert assassin. And there's plenty of character build-up for sure, with Scherkenbach leaning on the creative backstory to build her and her father up as convincing assassins who are very good at what they do. That being said, the issue's pacing is affected by the aforementioned time-jumping in that the first issue spends so much time laying the groundwork that details of the plot are a little hazy.
Allison's art style is very stylized and exaggerated. Characters sport facial expressions and bodies that seem overly contorted as Allison relies on physiques that look unnatural. The entire artistic style is consistent though and Allison manages to make the interesting character models work pretty well within the context of the book. It's clear from both the character models and panel layouts that Allison is going for a very edgy look that is presumably befitting of the content of the book itself. The color are pretty basic but have a darkish hue to them that underscores the book's premise of night and sleep-related roles/characters
Sweet Lullaby #1 is an interesting take on the concept of assassins and spies. Lullaby has a history to her rooted in espionage and how she reconciles her present life with her past will be something readers will find most interesting. Scherkenbach's script demonstrates an attention to a larger storyline that's delivered a in a slightly jumbled fashion because of all the flashbacks. Allison's artwork is unique, but my be a little too extreme and might turn off some readers looking for a cleaner look that matches with the notion of espionage and spies. Sweet Lullaby #1 definitely has a grander plan in mind though and it will be interesting to see how the characters make their way to their storyline destinations.
Sweet Lullaby #1 will be available soon.