INDIE BLACK COMIC-BOOKS

FRENEMY OF THE STATE #2


Ariana’s test mission might have not have gone as smoothly as planned but her handlers at the CIA are running out of time to stop a weapons deal that could have grave consequences for several countries. Ready or not, it’s time for this socialite to jump into the world of international espionage while trying to avoid the ‘Spoiled Rich Girl’ section of the tabloids!

Picking up right from where the first issue left off, our heroine, Ariana, had broken into the safe of the father of socialite Haven Douglas and stolen the thumbdrive that was inside, but then got caught and chased to the roof by security, and when she tried to leap to catch on to a helicopter that her C.I.A. handlers sent to rescue her, she missed and began to fall to the ground.

Thanks to some fantastic (& utterly implausible) gymnastics, Ariana is taken back to C.I.A. HQ, where it is revealed that the thumb-drive she stole from the safe contained a sex tape starring Haven. Why is the C.I.A. interested in such a thing, Ariana wonders? They aren’t. Turns out it was just a test, to see if Ariana could steal it. And when Ariana finds out that her handlers covered her escaped by planting the story that she was just really drunk, she gets pissed off and quits, because she previously had a drinking problem which she had since beaten, and doesn’t like that the whole world will now think she’s back to being a drunken socialite. But her retirement doesn’t last long, as she returns home to find herself surrounded by paparazzi (& Haven, who is there both to gloat about Ariana’s misfortune, and to warn her to not show that sex tape to anyone), and reports of her alcoholism is all over the news (with a cameo from Dr. Phil). Feeling that she has no better options at the moment, Ariana returns to the C.I.A. where her boss, Deputy Director Mitchum, gives her her first real assignment.

Mitchum believes that a wealthy Russian man is plotting to sell a nuclear bomb to a Saudi Prince. Ariana is friends with Nick, the Russian’s son, and Jamila, the Prince’s daughter, and this deal will be taking place at Nick’s upcoming birthday party, which is very exclusive and therefore will be hard to get to. But Ariana has a standing invitation, so Mitchum wants her to go and find the nuke, and slip a tracking device on it. Ariana refuses to believe that the Prince is involved in this, because she knows that Jamila and her family are all very pro-American, but Mitchum insists that he is, because they know that the Prince’s brother has ties to Al Qaeda. Ariana agrees, and she goes out shopping for a new outfit for the party, with Agent Byrne along, continuing to act as her bodyguard. But while Byrne is keeping the paparazzi at bay, Ariana gives him the slip, and hops on a jet to go visit Jamila in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a friendly dinner. But when the Prince’s brother shows up, he’s anything but friendly, so Ariana takes it upon herself to do a little impromptu snooping, and soon finds herself surrounded by a group of men carrying knives and guns…TO BE CONTINUED

Another fine issue from Rashida Jones and her co-writers, Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis. The story has just the right amount of action, to go along with the dramatic scenes. And it continues to flesh out Ariana’s character. She has a naturally rebellious streak, and problem with authority figures, but also has a decent heart, and a desire to see the good in people. Plus a degree of fearlessness, which borders on reckless. All of which makes her a compelling character to base a series on. And the story continues to be well-complemented by Jeff Wamester’s art. This issue gets another Chacebook rating of 5 STARS

This issue is available digitally on Comixology for only $1.99

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