Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Shari Chankhamma
The debut issue of Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death showed us a series with potential, but it didn’t quite live up to the intriguing premise. The series follows Contessa, a femme fatale also known as Baboushka. The Russian assassin was blackmailed by the CIA to do the dirty jobs that they aren’t willing to, including assassinating some high profile targets. The concept is familiar, but most spy stories are and still manage to be entertaining. Unfortunately this series hasn’t done anything to stand out from the rest of the genre so far.
Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death #2 takes place entirely on a ship (Contessa makes it clear multiple times that it’s a ship, not a boat) where a criminal organization consisting of multiple international heads is taking place. Fans of the genre will find a great amount of tropes that we are used to, including sex, fancy clothes, and dramatic action. The book plays on these tropes well, but none of it really feels special. The character dialogue is bland, the story doesn’t go in any interesting directions, and the twist presented is underwhelming.
Antony Johnston is well known for creating incredible worlds, but so far the world of Codename Baboushka is missing the spark that his other titles had. The series is still new and can definitely improve, but right now there is nothing to draw in readers other than those who are already into the genre. The characters lack just as much as the world does, with no one really standing out due to everyone having mostly boring lines. There is a certain amount of intrigue in Contessa, who mostly acts as the female counterpart of James Bond, but even she feels a bit artificial at times.