Thursday, November 3, 2016

Book Review: Neil Gaiman's Lady Justice Vol. 1 by C. J. Henderson et al.

Neil Gaiman's Lady Justice Volume 1 based on a concept created by Neil Gaiman, written by C. J. Henderson and Wendi Lee, penciled by Michael Netzer, Jim Web, et al.

Neil Gaiman was involved in the formation of a comic book publishing house in the mid-1990s, mostly contributing ideas. One such idea was Lady Justice. Inspired by the famous statue of a blindfolded woman with scales in one hand and a sword in the other, Gaiman's idea was that the spirit of justice is searching for a human avatar (always a woman) in situations where a grave injustice occurs. The spirit gives the woman powers to visit justice upon wrongdoers but leaves the exact method to the woman. Some women are more bloodthirsty than others.

In the first story, Janine, a woman in a wheel chair, witnesses the death of both her brothers. When the spirit of justice comes, Janine accepts the offer to be justice's avatar and is able to walk again once she puts on a blindfold. Queue the dramatic violence and action as she works her way up the organized crime syndicate that's responsible for her brothers' deaths. She is viciously efficient, though the spirit of justice leaves her at the end because Janine is more about revenge than justice.

In the second story, a young African-American girl is initiated into an inner-city gang, a tradition in her family. Gang life is pretty rough and soon enough the spirit of justice comes to her to avenge a drive-by shooting. Certainly the cops can't get anything done about it. The story is sadder and more painful than the first.

The last story involves a young district attorney who is swept up in an attempt to take out a drug lord. She's a small town lawyer and the FBI is interested in the man she's prosecuting, though they want to plea bargain him to get bigger criminals. Plea-bargaining doesn't interest the spirit of justice (nor the lawyer) and the FBI guy has his own agenda.

The overall set-up is interesting and the characters are developed enough that they are sympathetic. Occasional conversations about the nature of justice give the book some depth but aren't too deep. Unfortunately, the focus really seems to be on the violence and there are a lot of underdressed women running around. The book looks like an exploitation shocker, which is less interesting to me. Maybe if Gaiman had written some of the stories or had some editorial oversight, the book might have more appeal for me.

Unless you're okay with lots of blood and boobs, I can't recommend this book.

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