Jane’s World Volume 7
Jane’s World Volume 7 is something of a departure for Paige Braddock. Previous volumes in the series have been reworked collections of comic strips, with emphasis on soap opera and daily life observations of the title character. This is the first lengthy storyline developed as such from the beginning, and it incorporates more drama and suspense.
Jane, who’s usually unlucky in love, is currently being pursued by two women. As the story begins, the three of them are finishing up dinner at Jane’s place. Dorothy’s an old friend who’s recently become something more, while Skye’s a natural-eating surfer. The two egg each other on to look wrong for Jane in a passive-aggressive style of competition. Meanwhile, Chelle, former special operative and Jane’s ex-girlfriend, is searching the desert for her kidnapped ex-partner Jill.
Cutting back and forth between domestic sitcom and action drama allows one to act as respite for the other. The humor lightens the suspense, while the drama lends weight to the “which one will she pick?” fluffiness. There’s humor within Chelle’s plotline, also, since the kidnappers don’t stop being jealous, somewhat idiotic women just because they’ve decided to commit a crime. As events proceed, the characters are drawn together into one big glorious finale, along with some RV-driving drag queens, an off-road Jeep chase, a desert animal vision, and one particularly strange bigamist.
Braddock draws in a classic newspaper comic strip style. Her character designs are sometimes reminiscent of the work of Jules Feiffer, and thankfully, she’s not adverse to white space, which makes the book a refreshing, easy read. Oddly, cast members other than Jane have more developed expressions. Jane’s glasses sometimes make her look like she has a stick figure head, since her eyelids and eyelashes aren’t drawn in behind them. The eyes are key to conveying the characters’ emotions, and with the others, Braddock switches between dots and more detail depending on what’s most effective for her scene.
A new reader may want to visit the publisher’s website at janecomics.com to fill in some of the gaps on the characters and their histories. The key information, including a flashback to Chelle’s younger years, is included here, but most readers will want to know more about the adventures and entanglements of this wide variety of fascinating women. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)