Jook Joint #2 // Review
Content Warning: Jook Joint contains scenes depicting sexual assault and domestic abuse
Heloise, a woman trapped in an abusive relationship, is at a crossroads: she can take the power Mahalia, a voodoo priestess, offers and make a better life for her and her child, or she can take her chances staying with her husband, Jean-Pierre, and hope Mahalia’s dark visions do not come true. Diving farther into the sinister secrets hiding behind the seemingly perfect lives of the people within, Jook Joint #2 is written by Tee Franklin, drawn by Alitha E. Martinez, with colors by Shari Chankhamma, and letters Taylor Esposito.
Mahalia makes sure that Jean-Pierre knows she has her eyes on him, but she is leaving his fate in the hands of Heloise. Meanwhile, Heloise considers what her life would be like without her husband, and if she is truly capable of getting rid of him once and for all.
Franklin once again writes the kind of raw, emotional dialogue that comes from personal experience. There are moments of hope and grief, sometimes on the same page. Woven throughout is the feeling of solidarity: Mahalia looks out for everyone who comes into her club and empowers them to look out for the others in their life.
Martinez intensifies the gore in this issue, but it does not feel gratuitous or overdramatic. It punctuates the story in key places, but does not overwhelm the entire issue. Chankhamma keeps the scenes taking place in the Jook Joint bright and colorful. It gives it the feeling of a fun place to go and have a drink to let go of your worries and dance the night away knowing Mahalia and her followers will watch out for you. These panels are directly contrasted with the scenes taking place outside of the club, such as where Mahalia and her coven live and where Heloise lives. These places are much darker, with muted tones giving them an ominous vibe.
The details about Mahalia’s story are slowly being revealed, but there are still mysteries to be explained about her character. Heloise’s story is also far from over. She has a lot of choices to be made, and, no matter what she choses, there will be consequences to explore. Hopefully the series will continue to handle the dark and intense themes with the same care and feeling.