Carroll & Mayhew Talk ‘Jennifer Blood: First Blood’

The new creative team talks about how they're going to tackle this vigilante mom's secret origin.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Jennifer Blood: First Blood #1

If you've missed it, Dynamite's been publishing the exploits of Jessica Blute – soccer mom by day, ruthless vigilante by night – for a while now, as imagined by Garth Ennis and later by Al Ewing. Now, for a prequel story, they've tapped Mike Carroll at Ewing's recommendation, as well as artist Igor Vitorino for Jennifer Blood: First Blood, and popular illustrator Mike Mayhew will be handling the covers.

Here's the synopsis blurb:

In Jennifer Blood: First Blood #1, Jessie Blute's uncle's murdered her father and drove her mother to suicide, which forced Jessie to fake her own death.  With a new identity, she distanced herself from her past, found love, raised a family… And then, many years later, she sought out her uncles and delivered brutal and blood-drenched vengeance. And the blood ran deep and quick.  But what was the trigger that turned this sweet, loving mother-of-two into a cold-hearted killing machine?  This is the story of Jessica Blute's lost years… And how she came to draw first blood.


"When I was invited to pitch ideas for Jennifer Blood: First Blood I have to admit I wasn't so sure I wanted the job," said Carroll.  "Jennifer's creator Garth Ennis and his successor Al Ewing have done some amazing stuff with the book and I knew it would be a lot of work for me to even come close to their standards.  The more I thought about it, the harder the task seemed to become. Because First Blood is a prequel to the ongoing series, it has to work on a whole different plane… First Blood can't spoil anything important from the ongoing series just in case new readers discover it first. Likewise, there has to be enough new stuff to keep the experienced readers entertained. Plus it has to be consistent with everything that's already been established in Jennifer's background, and everything that Al has planned for the future.  It'd be like juggling chainsaws and babies while riding a unicycle along a tightrope stretched across the Niagara Falls.

"But as I was searching for reasons not to do it, I realized that I was actually falling for the idea," he explained. "Sure, it'd be tough, but nothing is ever learned by taking the easy path.  I re-read the published issues of Jennifer Blood many times – they're a huge amount of fun to read anyway – and I came up with some questions that hadn't been answered ­- and a few that hadn't even been asked. Those questions became ideas… And ideas are the seeds of stories. Jennifer's an amazing character – a lot deeper than a casual glance might reveal – and Garth has crafted a fascinating background for her. Pretty soon I reached the conclusion that I couldn't not write it. Garth and Al are two of my favorite writers, and to get to play in their sandbox with such a strong character is a fantastic opportunity… I'd have to have been crazy to turn it down!  Sure, the mini-series is a prequel so we know that Jennifer isn't going to die at the end… But it's not THAT she lives that's important: it's HOW she lives.  I hope that I've done the character proud and that the fans of the ongoing series will enjoy reading Jennifer Blood: First Blood as much as I've enjoyed writing it."

"I've wanted to revisit the same stylistic territory as my Mystique covers for a while now," said Mayhew.  Girl with a gun type stuff. Jennifer Blood is a never before seen twist on that.  A soccer mom by day, cold-blooded vigilante by night.  With the First Blood covers, I'm trying to tell the tale of her becoming Jennifer Blood.  It's like "year one", where we see her developing from ordinary to extraordinary. It's important for me to show Jennifer as more typical and relatable modern woman, similar to what I did with Marvel's Jessica Jones.  I'm also having fun with the idea that she's the mother of two small kids, something I am dealing with myself."


Here's Mayhew's cover of Jennifer Blood: First Blood #1, due out in September.

Jennifer Blood: First Blood #1