There are a lot of comics books that succeed in this industry despite their mediocrity due to exposure and public awareness (cough cough, Marvel). There are allot of brilliant comics that fail because of low exposure. Independent and small publishers can make a living, but fighting for market share in an already crowded space tends to produce more losers than winners even if the product is better than most of what is out on the shelves.
I sincerely hope Sweet Lullaby succeeds.
The premise is seemingly simple. A man who works as a government(?) undercover operative loses his wife in a mysterious manner. He then has to take care of his daughter and he does so the only way he knows how, by bringing her into his line of work. He trains her as a spy and assassin and as she grows older, she works her way to the top of their organization's field agents. There is still some unresolved issues in her past, though, like who killed her mother and what is her father hiding from her.
The first issue spends half the time in the present, and half the time 20 years in the past during Lullaby's training with her father. These flashbacks and flash-forwards actually help drive the narrative forward instead of being a tired comic trope. It works so well, that I found myself eager to find out what deadly thing little Lullaby would learn next.
Internal consistency is important to most who consider themselves a "nerd." Not just consistent motivation, or consistent personalities, but consistent language. A.J. Scherkenbach has crafted a narrative in which language plays a key role from the names of the characters to the actions they perform. Everything has meaning, everything fits, and everything keeps the characters moving forward because thinking about a "dream" too much can be deadly. The dialog reflects this perfectly, and helps the reader stay committed to this writer's world.
No matter how good the writing is, if a comic has terrible art than it will languish on the shelves. J. Briscoe Allison brings an style that reminds me of J. Scott Campbell's Danger Girl. Everybody is cartoonishly toned and attractive. It's easy to take this styling too far but Allison stops short of it becoming distracting. It fits perfectly with the story being told and while pleasantly detailed it doesn't descend into promiscuity which is what I normally associate with this kind of styling.
It's this perfect blend of story, dialog, setting, and artistry that makes me want the next comic in the series right away. This comic made me look at more of the comics coming out of Darby POP, which is what every publisher's goal should be.
Rating: 10/10 Assassination Via Lawnmower