Gunpowder residue: Lady Killer, Grayson and Descender

We’re reading from both ends of the trigger this week, and drinking a fresh pot of Gunpowder Organic from Peet’s Coffee & Tea. You should be able to find a tin at your local Peet’s or online. It’s a grassy green tea, and unlike a lot of it’s siblings in the green tea category it’s notably bittersweet and bold.

It’s a week full of hitwomen, spies and bounty hunters. So hopefully this green tea will give you the little boost of caffeine that you need to alert your senses and get your heart pumping — without giving you a bad case of itchy trigger finger.

Lady Killer

Section of a panel from Lady Killer #3.

Section of a panel from Lady Killer #3.

Lady Killer #3 is written by Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones and illustrated by Jones. It’s a 1960s era story that follows hitwoman Josie Schuller while she juggles being a mom, having a healthy social life and, well, killing for money.

The book contrasts Schuller’s domestic life with her work life, and makes it clear that she’s very different when attending to one or the other. She’s multifaceted: perky and polished, but just as devious and domineering.

However, she’ll need all of her qualities if she’s to survive what’s in store. Completing Schuller’s current assignment will show her, and her agency, just how ruthless she’s become after years of perfecting her craft. It’ll only prove the agency’s suspicions that she’s too far gone; too dangerous to keep on payroll.

It’s a no-win situation. If she does her job, she’s a threat and needs to be taken down. If she doesn’t, then she’s failed her mission, which might be even worse.

Grayson

Section of a panel from Grayson #8.

Section of a panel from Grayson #8.

Grayson #8, written by Tom King and illustrated by Mikel Janin, follows superhero-gone-superspy Dick Grayson.

Grayson has a long, well-known resume in the DC Universe; starting with (arguably) one of the greatest internships in the world as Batman’s protégé, Robin; to a hero in his own right, Nightwing; and currently sitting as double-agent infiltrating Spyral, Agent 37.

There’s a hiccup, though. Someone’s giving away organization secrets — other than Grayson. Issue #8 gets right down to the heart of the problem, with the agency confronting their snitch. It juxtaposes bold, hectic firefight with Grayson’s ability to smoothly adapt for the sake of victory.

Descender

Section of a panel from Descender #1.

Section of a panel from Descender #1.

Descender #1, written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, follows Tim: An android who awakens after a 10-year stasis to find that the human world has outlawed his kind and is set on wiping them out.

This is a little justified though, considering that during his extended nap, humanity was going through a verifiable android-induced apocalypse. Humans figured that no robots were a better option than killer robots, and took obliterating androids from the universe to task.

They did a pretty good job, too. Android populations are dwindling down to nearly nothing. And then there’s Tim.

Tim just seems to want to find the rest of his robotic family, and maybe some answers while he’s at it. Unfortunately there’s a hefty bounty for anyone who can bring in remaining androids, and Tim may have accidentally put himself right on the top of this hit list.


This week’s pairing should be bold, as well as a little bitter-sweet. Our protagonists seem pretty confident and steady. Which isn’t that surprising on the part of Schuller and Grayson. Do-or-die circumstances are old news for them. Meanwhile, Tim appears to be just optimistic and efficient enough to be able to keep pushing forward.

They may have to kill or be killed to get back to family and friends, or at the very least, start running.

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