Neil Gaiman’s Lady Justice Vol. # 1 (graphic novel review)

June 28, 2017 | By | Reply More

Initially, I thought ‘Neil Gaiman’s Lady Justice’ fit in with the ‘Neil Gaiman’s Teknophage’ and ‘Neil Gaiman’s Mr. Hero’ saga and it does but there’s no evidence of that in this volume. However, I snuck a peek at Neil Gaiman’s Lady Justice Vol. # 2 and Mister Henry Phage puts in an appearance there so I guess it ties in later. As we’re given no information on the character’s origins here, there’s no inconsistency.

Lady Justice is a vengeful spirit who possesses wronged females by means of a white blindfold and helps them get justice. She calls them her avatars. Imbued with the soul of Lady Justice, these women make Bruce Lee look like a wimp in hand-to-hand combat. They are experts with all kinds of weapons and are too healthy specimens with figures like super-models.

This volume contains three story arcs covering multiple issues and a one-off: eleven in total. The first female to be possessed is Janine Farrell, who seeks justice after her brothers, Pat and Eddie, are gunned down by a gang stealing blood from a hospital. Over three issues, she gets her revenge. But is that the same as justice? This tale is written by C.J. Henderson. The first two parts are pencilled by Michael Netzer and they’re okay but the third by Jim Webb and George Jeanty looked sloppy to me.

The next three issues feature Latino gang wars. It opens with Sylvia getting beat up as her initiation into the 66 Camina Real Reinas. Her father is a veteran of the 66 Camino Real Reyes and he’s proud. A drive-by shooting in which a little girl is killed evokes her yearning for justice and you-know-who appears that night to give Sylvia the usual kick-ass powers. This segment was written by Wendi Green and drawn by George Boone and Greg Boone. The art was okay but nothing to shout about.

There’s a one issue story titled ‘The Chains that Cannot Bind’ about a family that won’t sell the old homestead being attacked by multiple-armed goons. Luckily, one of them is a blonde with a super-model figure and Lady Justice comes to their aid. The art by Mike Harris was striking and C.J. Henderson managed the nearest thing you can get to a happy ending in this type of yarn.

Issues # 8-11 are a four-part story in which Lady Justice’s avatar is a female D.A. who’s bought in to prosecute a man who sodomised a thirteen year-old girl. Sadly, the Feds want to make a deal with him as he is the top chemist for a drugs overlord. Justice will not be done, at least not by official methods. The story is a competent crime caper by C. J. Henderson and the art by Steve Lieber was pretty darn good. There are car chases, multiple shootings and a lot of people die. There’s a rumour Quentin Tarantino was interested in making a film of ‘Lady Justice’ but he opted out because it was too gory for him.

The foregoing makes it sound worse than it is. I quite enjoyed it overall. The format restricts how much you can do with the character but C.J. Henderson and Wendi Lee are both crime novelists according to the notes at the back and know how to spin a yarn. Much of the art doesn’t suit my old-fashioned tastes but it might suit yours and none of it hurts the eye. You get your money’s worth with over two hundred pages of story, several nice pin-ups and a bit of character history at the back from Jim Salicrup. If we did stars at SFCrowsnest, I’d give it three. Not highly recommended but worth a look.

Eamonn Murphy

June 2017

(pub: NBM/Papercutz, 2015. 232 page graphic novel softcover. Price: $14.99 (US), $17.50 (CAN), £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-62991-573-9)

check out website: http://www.nbmpub.com//

Category: Comics, Superheroes

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About the Author ()

Eamonn Murphy lives in the west country and grew up reading Asimov, Heinlein, lots of other old SF and Marvel Comics. After many years experimenting with alcohol he has settled down to the quiet life with a nice lady, a big garden and a dog but finds time to write reviews for crowsnest and a few short stories, some of which even get published in obscure magazines. His horror novel 'Arnos Hell' set in a Bristol graveyard is available on Amazon as a kindle book.

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