Author Ollie Masters, Illustrations Ming Doyle
I will start by saying that I have not seen the movie adaptation of The Kitchen. I’ve heard it’s mediocre at best. Which is disappointing because I really enjoyed the book. But since I haven’t seen the movie please don’t ask me to compare them or answer any questions about it!
The Kitchen is a classic mobster story. It follows all of the standard tropes, pacing, and story structure. It just happens to follow three women running the show instead of three men.
These three women are married to three head mobsters in Hell’s Kitchen. The head mobster husbands are all arrested and suddenly removed from their territory. The wives then step in to run the show.
It starts simple with one of the wives making rounds around the city to collect debts in her husband’s place. She has no other source of income after all.
From there the three wives begin collecting debts and then quickly become bosses themselves. They know how to get things done and they are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
I enjoyed the progression of their characters and found it relatively believable. How they evolve individually as well as as a group is quite entertaining to see.
Even more interesting is how they behave once their husbands all return from jail. The most telling moments in the book are what they do once the men return to take everything they’ve earned.
By the end of the book their characters have changed a lot and made a whole different world from themselves. And as with any classic mobster movie, once they reach the top there comes a time when they must fall.
The Kitchen is feminist in the smartest ways. It doesn’t just shove women into a story in which they don’t belong. It doesn’t paint female faces onto otherwise male characters. And it never puts the women lower than the men or in a position that they have to choose between being strong women or being traditionally feminine.
They continue to wear makeup and heels like they always have. Because they choose to. But they also step up and take control, because they choose to. They fight real bad guys, not the bad guys’ wives.
They know what they want and do what they need to to get it. They’re incredibly strong but also flawed, just as all humans can be. It’s a multi-dimensional story for multi-dimensional readers.
As a bonus it has an actual ending! Many comic books or graphic novels don’t. It’s a complaint I’ve made time and again. The Kitchen is a contained story and well worth a read.
It’s only a few issues long and can be read in a single sitting if desired. I definitely recommend this book and from what I hear it’s better than the movie so if you’ve seen the film and since hesitated to read the book please give it a shot.
4/5 💄💄💄💄 still looking goods while taking names and kicking ass
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Buy it here: The Kitchen