PAINKILLER JANE is Back - And MONOLITH Is Returning With Her

Painkiller Jane: Trust the Universe
Credit: Juan Santacruz
Credit: Bill Sienkiewicz

Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada's Painkiller Jane is back - and she's bringing former DC character Monolith with her.

In the new slimline OGN Painkiller Jane: Trust the Universe raising funds now on Kickstarter, Palmiotti and artist Juan Santacruz are bringing together Jane and the Monolith to investigate the troubling abduction of numerous children. Joining them will be colorist Dan Kemp, letterer John J. Hill, and cover artists Bill Sienkiewicz and Amanda Conner.

The Monolith was created in 2004 by Palmiotti and co-writer Justin Gray for a DC ongoing title which bore his name. The series ultimately ended after 12 issues, and in 2013 the duo successfully petitioned to regain the rights to the character, reprinting the original stories. Painkiller Jane: Trust the Universe will be the first new Monolith story in 14 years.

In addition to the main story, it will reprint a rare story by Palmiotti and artist Steve Mannion and Paul Mounts called "Monster."

With the Painkiller Jane Kickstarter launching now, Palmiotti spoke with Newsarama about the return of Jane and Monolith, as well as the possibility of another comeback. Spoilers: We ask about Ash.

Credit: Juan Santacruz

Newsarama: Jimmy, Painkiller Jane is back in action - what calls her to take a new mission here in this one-shot?

Jimmy Palmiotti: Her partner in fighting crime Maureen, still a NYC detective, drags her into an undercover operation to try to find out who is kidnapping and using young women against their will. At the same time others are looking for missing women as well and its where the team up between Painkiller Jane and Monolith comes together. Both looking for the same people. I have been dying to introduce some of my existing characters and work stories around them. This one is the first.

Nrama: What makes this search for missing children personal for Jane Vasko?

Palmiotti: Jane is a bit of a lost cause herself on a few different levels and she has ingrained in her system a real sense of right and wrong. Her life right now isn’t the most social it’s ever been, so digging into her work and taking out scumbags like the ones presented here, well…they make her day.

Nrama: Can you say who emerges as the antagonist in this one-shot?

Credit: Juan Santacruz

Palmiotti: There is a group of people making a lot of money with human trafficking and Leo Pavel is the head of it all. He is introduced here for the first time and it will not be the last time he is heard from.

Nrama: A big surprise in this is that your formerly-DC character Monolith is re-emerging here to team up with Jane. You got the rights back a couple years ago, so what's it like now to bring it into this informal universe of your creations?

Palmiotti: What Amanda and I want to do is take all the characters we now own and try to build up their own universe. We don’t have investors or someone writing us me check for millions of dollars to do that, but with all the hard work over the years, we have built a decent library of characters and we now want to explore how they could interact given the chance. I feel Amanda and I already did that in the DCU with Power Girl, Atlee, Harley and Starfire in a way…created a group of characters that share the same ideas and have fun.

With Monolith now in Jane we now know that supernatural beings exist in Janes universe…something we never covered before. The Kickstarter gives us a good meter to see if people are interested in this kind of thing.

Nrama: Do you have plans for more stories about the Monolith coming out of this?

Credit: Juan Santacruz

Palmiotti: When Justin and I created the Monolith, we could have kept writing the character for years. We had a deal with Lionsgate for a feature film at one time and planned to come out with new series around the release of the film, but that all fell apart. What we are doing now is testing the waters with all the characters. I offer up this link to see what we have to play with coming up and for sure, more Monolith will happen.

Nrama: How about your other superhero characters - any plans for them? How about that Ash character, Jimmy?

Palmiotti: Don’t think Joe and I haven’t been talking about Ash, but things like that take a lot of time.

Nrama: You know me, Jimmy. I gotta ask about Ash.

Palmiotti: Yeah. I will say he will be back…but when remains to be seen.

After this Kickstarter, I have the anthology Sex and Violence 3 coming up and then two creator-owned series as well. I am constantly working…it’s the money part and making a living that gets in the way at times.

Nrama: This is coming while work on a Painkiller Jane movie is underway - with Jessica Chastain signed on to star. Is this all connected?

Credit: Juan Santacruz

Palmiotti: Well, I have been working on the film behind the scenes getting things set up and Jane has been on my mind and how to get a new book out there. It's where the idea of Kickstarting it came from.

Nrama: Since we have you, can you give us an update on the movie's progress?

Palmiotti: We have a screenplay that we love and that took a bit of time, but right now, we have that out to directors and everything is coming together nicely.

What you do learn the big difference between comics and film is that we can make comics rather quickly and films take years at times. You are constantly dealing with others schedules no matter what, but with comics the commitment can be a lot easier. I am very excited to watch the film come together and the die-hard Jane fans will be really happy to see a lot of the book making it to the big screen.

Credit: Juan Santacruz

Nrama: Circling back, this Painkiller Jane volume is on Kickstarter. What are the stretch goals and rewards you're most excited about?

Palmiotti: I am super excited about all the digital rewards mainly because anyone anywhere can back these and get them delivered right into their hands without a third party being involved with shipping and distribution. As well, I feel blessed that I have such an amazing group of talented friends around me to make these rewards so damn cool.

I feel the one cover we cannot show that is of an adult nature is going to be the first thing to go - especially since Amanda has a track record of always drawing the most stunning women and has a design sense that always impresses me. I also like any of the group of rewards offered, getting more than one book is something I always take advantage of when I back a project. Either way, give the page a read. I think there is something for everyone.

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