My favorite visual motif comes fairly early on in You Have Killed Me. At the onset of chapter two, our protagonist, private eye Antonio Mercer, is driving through the streets of 1930s-era New York City, and out the back of his oblong rear car window, we see an actual picture of the city. It immediately calls to mind the olden days of Hollywood and the heyday of film noir, with jumpy street scenes visible behind cars in every driving scene.
And that’s just one of the noir treats in You Have Killed Me, Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones’ nicely done tribute to the classic detective genre. As always with these stories, and in the words of the comic itself: “This story starts just like any other…with a girl.”
A beautiful girl, of course, and one who has broken Mercer’s heart: Julie comes from money and a proud family pedigree, so of course it could never work out with Mercer. She has an equally beautiful sister, Jennie, who puts the story in motion by hiring Mercer to track down Julie, who has disappeared mere days before her wedding.
From there, we travel to the world of shady gambling halls, horse races, edgy cops who suspect Mercer and don’t want him messing with their case, and the usual assorted cast of thugs and molls, none of whom can be trusted.
Jones’ art is a true standout. She has a knack for drawing beautiful dames, elegant, long-legged ones, and her men are strong-jawed toughs who take punch after punch without flinching. She and Rich have worked together before (12 Reasons Why I Love Her), and they collaborate well. Rich clearly loves the genre he is honoring in his script, and he contributes a fun new work to it. You Have Killed Me is a fast-paced detective work, and as such, the actual solution to the mystery isn’t the point—the journey is, and getting there is where all the enjoyment lies.
Reviewed by John Hogan on July 15, 2009
You Have Killed Me