Writers: Justin Jordan, Nikki Ryan / Artist: Morgan Beem / Image Comics
The Family Trade started strong with the introduction of Jessa, her family of assassins, and the floating city in the Pacific where they live to keep the balance. In issue #2 they fumble the rock a bit in both narrative and artwork with an issue difficult to follow at times, but even more challenging, driven occasionally without a clear conflict. We pick up where issue #1 left off with Jessa’s botched assassination attempt of the series’ clear analog to Donald Trump, but after her narrow escape the issue is lost in dialog between Jessa and others that run longer than needed. The Family Trade #2 keeps entertainment at the bookends though, beginning and ending with daring escapes, the likes of which we have seen no fewer than 3 now.
The bulk of the issue reflects Jessa’s insecurity and inner struggle to whether to prove herself or accept the doubt placed on her abilities. Her inner voice is a welcome insight into her decisions; while the comic meanders a bit, her voice is what helps keep you grounded. Artistically, the scenes here are all close quarters, without the wide views of the float that were so interesting in the series premiere. The action scenes are close quarters as well, but more successful in that the closeness adds an intimacy with fear and raises the tension of those scenes.
You may find it hard to connect with any character except Jessa, which will likely change as a new addition, Ri, comes into her own. This series has all the same upsides as before so we can hope it accelerates again on its way there and narrows its relationship focus on the way. This is a family, right? So who is it Jessa must rely on? Who counts on Jessa in return, believes in her, trusts her? As the family takes shape, hope to find those answers soon.
Reading The Family Trade? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.