Plainer Jane continues to follow the dual life of Jane, a young woman trying to find her way in the world as she splits her time between her studies as a student nurse, whilst also living her dream of being a killer for hire.
A lot of this issue focuses on Jane and her ‘regular’ life, and we spend a good amount of time with her and her best friend, Kat, as they perform their duties in Manchester Hospital. In the previous issues there was definitely a sense that contract killing was really the only thing that Jane wanted to do, and that any career she’d choose as her day job would really only be to pretend that she was living a normal life, as well as paying the bills between killing gigs. And this definitely seems to be the case here.
Kat is passionate about the work, she’s trying her best to learn what she can, to do what’s asked of her, and to be kind to the patients around her. Jane, on the other hand, really doesn’t seem to want to be there. She’s annoyed that her job is basically collecting urine samples, cleaning up bodily fluids, and generally being something of a dogsbody. These aren’t glamorous parts of the job, and no one would really enjoy them, but it really seems more to be that this just isn’t the right place for Jane. The way she talks to the husband of one patient really exemplifies this, as she basically tells him his wife isn’t going to recover and he should just let her die. Not exactly great bedside manner.
We also get an insight into what Jane has been doing in her other job during this section of the book, as people discuss the recent increase in gang related killings around the city. This leads us nicely into a small scene where a couple of criminals meet up to discuss the situation, with one clearly higher up in the chain making some very clear threats to his underling to get things sorted. A hooded figure is watching over this from the other side of the bar, and messages Jane information about it.
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It would seem that Jane has been getting some repeat custom from this man, being hired multiple times to kill various members of this criminal enterprise. It’s not clear in this issue who this might be, or why they’re doing this, but it’s something that I’m looking forward to finding out, and it adds a layer of mystery to the series. Is this someone from a rival gang wanting to kill off competition? Someone in that gang wanting to kill off people so they can move up the chain? Someone who wants to see the criminals gone because they oppose crime? Or is it a rogue cop doing whatever they can to get rid of crime in the city? There are a ton of possibilities, and it feels like this is going to be a central narrative going forward, which was something the series felt like it was missing in the first two issues.
The art for the issue continues the trend as in issues one and two, with very clean black and white illustrations with minimal background details or shading in order to make the characters and what they’re doing stand out more on the page, with the only colour being used being splashes of red here and there. There are a couple of exceptions to this, however. At the beginning of the issue the art style – by Donna A Black – is completely different, taking on a full colour, painted style that’s a vast contrast to the rest of the work.
There’s also a small section at the end of the issue, a kind of back-up feature called ‘How Jane Met Kat’, that’s drawn and coloured by guest artist Guiseppe Sabe Di Stefano. This part of the book is also in full colour, but unlike the colour section provided by Black, feels a lot more comicbook-like in the sense that it still looks hand drawn, though with a style and look that makes it clearly very different to the rest of the issue.
This feels like it’s the most developed issue of the series so far, with some insights into Jane and Kat, as well as it feeling like a major narrative thread that’s going to last a while has begun to make an appearance. I’ll be interested to see where things go next for our young contract killer.
Plainer Jane #3 is out now from Broken Face Comics.