UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Avon Oeming, Taki Soma, Carlos M. Mangual, Curtis King Jr., Michael McCalister, and Alisa Bendis
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Brian Michael Bendis does well with progressing the story and characterization of UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2. The art is nostalgic and colored to enhance each scene.
88 %
Looking Good

Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming deliver a surprising and gruesome story in DC’s UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2. The plot and characterization both develop at a steady pace, so the reader doesn’t get lost. The art in the comic is interesting and sort of cartoonish.

Warning, potential spoilers for UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2 are below!

What’s Going On In UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2?

If you’ve already read UNTIED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #1, then you’ll be happy to know that issue #2 immediately starts off with a fight to the death between our main lady Jagger Rose and an unidentified man. Jagger fights hard, engaging in a bloody and brutal melee. She wins and immediately moves onto her first hit, and it’s against her own uncle Jack — the man in UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #1 who originally trained her!

UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2
UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2 page 9. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Brian Michael Bendis does well in transitioning between the first two issues of UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. The plot is well-paced, picking up right where we left off and bringing us all the way to present day Jagger. Perfect like a fine-tuned instrument.

I’m curious about “the family.” They seem to be the “Murder Inc.” featured in the comic’s title. However, we’re still left wondering by the end. Padrino and the rest of the family must have something illegal going on that we’re not aware of. This suspicion (at least for me) starts when we learn Jack had been stealing from “the family.” From what I gather it seems like all the characters we’ve seen so far are related by blood, so for family to steal from family means something significant and that there are secrets yet to be discovered.

Growing Up With Jagger Rose

Jagger is the main character of the comic, so we get to see her grow and develop the most. Jagger starts off in what seems to be her teens and progresses to young adulthood in UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #1. In her youth, she learned quickly how to be an assassin from her uncle Jack. After training for so long, she comes to her final test as we’ve seen: a fight to the death. After that, she has to kill her own uncle. That’s a lot for someone so young.

I feel like Jagger’s character is someone that has to rise from being a child to a cold, hard-ass adult. She’s tough and, so far, obeys all orders from “the family.” Still, besides the hardships she’s facing, Jagger is a little bland as a character. You don’t get to really see her personality outside of her fights.

From a realistic perspective, you have to wonder what her mental health state is. I hope Brian Michael Bendis explores this, not only because mental health is important, but it would give more depth to Jagger’s character. As a reader, I’d like to see her internal struggles in the present day with some inner monologues.

Art Projecting ’90s Cartoon Nostalgia

This may sound crazy, but Michael Avon Oeming and colorist Taki Soma create art that gives off some 90s cartoon nostalgia. The style closest in comparison is Samurai Jack. The visuals portray similarly two-dimensional art as a cartoon would. The characters are drawn simply, with thick, bold colors and shadows.

Throughout UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2, the color changes based on the situation. For example, when Jagger fights, the colors are mainly a red and green scheme. This indicates the gruesomeness of the fight. Outside of combat, Jagger and the other characters involved change to a cool blue tone, an indication of the calm after the storm. Once she confronts Jack, the tone changes to a kind of yellow hue. This color makes it seem like it’s building up to a bad situation, which — as the comic illustrates — it does. However, what remains constant is Jagger’s vibrant, bubblegum pink hair. Not sure why, but it’s cool.

So I enjoy the art for the nostalgia and the colors changing based on the situation. Also, a nice detail I noticed was present day Jagger showing more detail and age in her face (as it should).

UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2
UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2 page 20. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What Can We Look Forward To In UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #3

Finally, at the end of UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2, Jagger is talking to a man named Valentine. He seems to be part of “the family,” as illustrated in this conversation with Jagger. We then cut to see Jagger in the present day. What’s her status with “the family?” What secrets will we discover next?

Be sure to stayed tuned for UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #3, coming soon!

One Comment

  1. […] UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #3 puts us in the beginning stages of a time of war between the Bonavese family and the United States government. Brian Michael Bendis surprises the reader with a bombshell moment that changes the intensity of the plot and predicts a more action-packed story to come. Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma’s use of art and color remain consistent from UNITED STATES VS. MURDER INC. #2. […]

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