Horror is a genre that comics can be spectacularly good at. Our brains are good at filling in the gaps between still comic images, bringing the action to life. And an artist, even working in black and white, can conjure horrific and disturbing scenes from our own imaginations with a bare minimum of visual cues.
Plain Jane, however, leaves little to the imagination. Jane is a woman with a deeply disturbed past. Violently raped, disfigured and left for dead, she decides to devote her life to entrapping, torturing and killing rapists, using drugs and prosthetics to pump up her strength and disguise herself enough to lure her enemies in.
It’s dark and nasty. Jane’s appearance is grim, her eye-less, featureless face has been wiped as blank as her one-track revenge personality. The drugs she takes keep her going in fights against powerful men, taking horrific levels of punishment and still managing to come out on top. And there are heartbreaking hints about her previous life – photos of a pretty bespectacled doctor with a bright future, and a boyfriend who still loves her but has been shut out by her new personality.
You couldn’t call this an enjoyable book but it serves its purpose well. Those with a thing for horror should find it satisfies their desire for an uncomfortable read. This is no crossover title though. Despite the slightly different perspective, of female protagonist as main purveyor of violent destruction and a slowly revealing back story, it remains gruesome enough to ensure it can only be recommended to those with a strong taste for the grotesque.