"To me, this story's a lot lighter in tone than people seem to think," the writer told CBR News about the six-issue miniseries which debuts in February. "Don't let the black leather, blood and fusillades of gunfire fool you - this is ultimately an action comedy. No one's trying to reinvent the wheel."
Drawn by Adriano Batista under covers by frequent Ennis collaborator Tim Bradstreet as well as Jonathan Lau and Alé Garza, "Jennifer Blood" is described by its writer as "a light-hearted if bloody comedy about a suburban housewife who spends her nights slaughtering criminals like dogs. 'Weeds' meets 'The Punisher.'" The series is an original creation shared between Ennis and Dynamite, which the writer confirmed came about as a result both of his own ideas and notebooks and the suggestions of the company that's published works of his from "The Boys" to "Battlefields."
In the series, the title heroine spends her days keeping house for a family easily described as the American dream before slipping out at night to take on a dangerous vendetta agains local mobsters with whom she has a mysterious connection. "The layers get peeled away as we go. This is indeed very personal, very specific for her," said Ennis, who seemed prepared to tweak reader expectations of what a woman's role in a violent revenge tale can be, part of the bite of starting in soccer mom territory. That is, he'll tweak those expectations if an audience comes out to support it.
"Same as any other character-type or genre, if the sales aren't there the books wither on the vine. One thing I've discovered over the years is that a certain part of comics' predominantly male audience doesn't really like tough women. Sure, the idea's okay in principle, so long as you have an attractively drawn figure that sits mutely on the page as a nice safe object of lust – but if you then make that figure reasonably human and give her a mind of her own with even vaguely believable responses, all of a sudden things aren't quite so cozy. Make her formidable to any degree, and you're on thin ice with a lot of men – give her a bad attitude into the bargain and you go straight through it," he said.
"As for the soccer mom thing, I really just thought it was funny. Making sandwiches one minute, priming grenades the next. Worrying about damp in the basement while cleaning gore off the soles of your boots, and so on."
Of course, even though the series as a whole will contain plenty of humorous moments, Ennis noted he'd be grounding his cast with real human emotions as Jennifer "will have the occasional little wobble as she goes along. Obviously, doing what she does requires a pretty massive act of denial, something I enjoy writing very much." Meanwhile, her picture perfect and totally oblivious family will get a workout as things go along, from her very honest and earnest husband Andrew to their two young kids. "[They'll be] light relief at first – later, as a reminder of her own background. Much as I enjoy writing them, the domestic scenes do have to take a back seat to the action."
And action, violence and adventure are what has Ennis tapped in to this series as the writer is making a return to the practical, "realistic" action choreography of some of his past work. "There are certainly no superpowered/supernatural elements to the story. It's practical and real in terms of what's more or less physically possible; what's mentally possible is another matter entirely – Jen does live in denial, to a strong degree. As we get further into the story, the practical and real aspect starts to slip a bit."
"Jennifer Blood" #1, the start of a six-issue series, ships to comic shops this February from Dynamite Entertainment.