Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dark Reign: Elektra #1 Review

Written by Zeb Wells
Art by Clay Mann

Picked this up based on reader suggestion in the Post-Crisis Previews this week and while not a perfect comic, by any means, I did walk away entertained and with a $3.99 price tag, it's nice knowing I didn't end hate it.

To be honest, the opening pages of this issue had me kind of scared (you can view previews of the issue here to see what I'm talking about). Elektra, the world's deadliest assassin, depending on who you ask, the person Tony Stark, ex-Director of SHIELD, was given the Skrull corpse of to kick off the whole 'who do you trust?' paranoia filled Secret Invasion and a former SHIELD employee is shown staggering around after coming out of the Skrull spaceship and the SHIELD grunts don't even know who she is, going so far as to call her, "maam".

From there, Iron Man goes on to claim Elektra was the first casualty of the Skrull invasion when he should know that Mockingbird just walked out of the same ship and was replaced way back when she died, which was much earlier than Elektra's abduction. Hell, Stark doesn't even have a full update at this point just who was or wasn't a Skrull and at what time they were replaced, yet is claiming Elektra is without a doubt the first casualty of the invasion and how he doesn't want a known world class assassin to die because of that. It just screamed wrong and set off a bunch of flags moving forward with this issue for me.

However, as I said in the opening paragraph, this issue was actually quite entertaining, opening griping aside, and the rest of the issue makes up for this sloppy opening sequence. The fallout of Secret Invasion that saw Norman Osborn rise to power is reflected in this issue with how Elektra goes from a reluctant guest of SHIELD to HAMMER's newest prisoner in the span of a few pages. Osborn's dialogue throughout the issue is very much in line with how he's currently being portrayed and a stark contrast to Elektra's mute behaviour.

Speaking of which, Elektra, whom this miniseries is about and named for, doesn't have a single line of dialogue, to my recollection, in this issue. It's rather odd, yet surprisingly fitting and commendable on Wells' part. I'm curious to know if this is due to the Skrull's experimentation on her, which was detailed through flashbacks on a digital 'though projector'-like object (not nearly as corny as it sounds), or of her own accord.

The bulk of this issue is actually spent going over Elektra's time in captivity with the Skrulls while Norman ominously watches over the proceedings before ending with Elektra's escape from the facility and this is where the lack of dialogue or even monologue on Elektra's part becomes a bit of a negative for the book. We have no idea what the main character is thinking nor what she intends to do moving forward. I imagine this is intentional in terms of wanting to keep readers in the dark, but also a tad frustrating when we're not given enough bread crumbs to follow along with.

Verdict - Check It. I liked this issue enough that I'll be coming back again for the second part, but I'm also unsure of how much staying power this will have or even how important this will be in regards to the rest of the Marvel Universe. I actually suspect this series will fall between the cracks when the upcoming diluge of Dark Reign miniseries start pouring onto the shelves.

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