REVIEW: 'The Deadliest Bouquet' #1 by Erica Schultz, Carola Borelli, and Gab Contreras



Writer: Erica Schultz

Artists: Carola Borelli, Gab Contreras

Letters: Erica Schultz

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: August 10, 2022

Cover Price: $3.99


Jasmine Hawthorn was a hard-edged Nazi hunter who trained her children well in the art of espionage. But in 1998, when her complicated past finally catches up with her, it's up to her three estranged daughters, Rose, Poppy, and Violet, to solve their mom's murder-if they can avoid killing each other in the process.


★★★★☆ (4/5)

'The Deadliest Bouquet' is an interesting new mini by Erica Schultz, Carola Borelli, and Gab Contreras. It's well-written and the art is great but what makes it interesting is the structure and plotting. If you didn't read the solicitation and didn't know much about the story, you'd still be riveted because the characters are so well realized and the conflict between them is so enthralling. The issue opens with a murder of a woman in her flower shop and her daughters have to reunite to solve it. But their very different personalities and unresolved issues make this series work. 

Schultz's ear for dialogue and sisterly drama has a rhythm all its own, it's a vibe if you will. It's the glue that keeps this story together because like a stage play most of the issue takes place in one location, that flower shop. From the discovery of the body to the police investigation to the sisters' squabbling and plan of attack, it all happens in one place. And that's the interesting part. It's a risky move unless you have the confidence and experience to be able to hold a reader's attention with mostly dialogue. 

The estranged sisters come together because of this tragedy and all their baggage comes to the surface. Rose stayed with their mom while Poppy and Violet went off to live their lives. There's resentment there along with the difficult relationship with their mother. Yet, they have to work together to find the killer. There's an underlying feeling that these women are more than capable to serve as their own investigators because their mother was able to handle herself as a Nazi hunter. 

Since so much takes place in one location, Borelli does a fantastic job of alternating perspectives and finding new angles to approach a scene. More importantly, the emotional range required by each character is expressed perfectly. Contreras' versatility aids in telling the story as rich colors inform the present while lightened faded colors inform the past. The use of flashbacks helps add more character depth. 

'The Deadliest Bouquet' is an intriguing character-driven murder mystery with a trio of sisters as engaging and complex as any in fiction. Issue one serves as an introduction and ends with the type of hard-nosed investigating we're likely to see going forward. The quick pacing and rapid-fire dialogue make this a recommended pick-up. It's a solid debut that has a lot of potential.