Elektra (2104) #1 (Marvel)

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 4.5/5 – Great Story, New Characters, Fabulous Art.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Given that Elektra is an assassin by trade the hardest thing is to get the readers to buy into an anti-hero lead for the series.  Over the years we’ve been exposed to many facets of Elektra’s character and she is by no means simply a killer, but it is a core part of her.  Instead of trying to take a completely new spin on the character out of the blue or sweeping large parts of her history under the carpet, writer W. Haden Blackman tackles her history head on.   In a few short pages Blackman delivers an elegant summary of Elektra’s history beautifully rendered by Mike Del Mundo.

Blackman and Del Mundo make magic together in this issue.  The story will bring a new reader up to speed on Elektra very quickly but in a way that doesn’t seem repetitive to someone who has been around since her first appearance in Daredevil #168.  That story is perfectly complemented by some of the best art I’ve seen on a Marvel book in recent memory.  Del Mundo’s artistry was most notable to me in a set of double-page spreads that I felt were nothing short of amazing.  Instead of giving the readers a single large image we got a narrative flow between a set of embedded images that led the eye fluidly across the page blending perfectly with Blackman’s captions.  Comics are so often locked into standard panel grids that it was refreshing to see a sense of design on display that played around with how the story can be presented on the page.

The story stood out for me because Blackman didn’t fall back on a standard plot like a ninja attack followed by a simplistic mission of revenge or assassination.  Instead he concentrates on a mission I could get behind that included introducing a new ally for Elektra, the Matchmaker; as well as a fascinating new bad guy, Cape Crow.  It’s not stated in words, but look at the art and look at who Cape Crow is mopping the floor with in the flashback sequence that introduces the character.  Will he be a challenge for Elektra?  You bet!  Add in the location Elektra’s mission leads her to as stop number one on the agenda and I’m counting the days until issue number 2 hits the stands.  Complete success as a #1, and another book added to my pull list.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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