Frank Miller’s paradoxical Greek ninja is back in action, and her latest target is another assassin, the legendary “Cape Crow.” But the road to her quarry isn’t exactly clear… Your Major Spoilers review of Elektra #5 awaits!
Writer: W. Haden Blackman
Artist: Michael Del Mundo
Colorist: Michael Del Mundo w/ Marco D’Alfonso
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Editor: Sana Amanat
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Elektra: Elektra Natchios has been many things in her life, but she has become frustrated with how few of them are actually about her. Tired of being a girlfriend, a daughter, a right-hand killer, she has sought out a target from the legendary Matchmaker, in the hopes of making a big enough score that she can start all over. Unfortunately, she’s not the only one searching for Cape Crow, and has had to fight off Lady Bullseye, among others, to get close to her chosen target. Having fought off psychic attack, she now stands face-to-face with Cape Crow…
We open on an icy plain, as Elektra faces down Cape Crow for the first time, and it’s a very… peculiar battle. Two equally talented assassins, each with their own tricks and murderous practices, but I’m impressed with how subtle the exposition of Elektra’s skills is handled. She is initially overwhelmed, then out maneuvered by her much-older counterpart, nearly beaten until she uses the very skills that got her killed in the first place years ago. At the same time, Crow’s son Kento seeks her out, and Elektra finally discovers the truth behind the telepathic manipulation that she has been experiencing for the past five issues. When she finally gets the upper hand, Elektra has the choice to kill him or not, knowing that if she lets him live, then she will become what he was: The biggest target for other assassins, constantly on the run from her former comrades. In true tragic fashion, she chooses the hard path, and the issue ends with a tease of a head-on clash between Elektra and Lady Bullseye next issue.
“DO YOU KNOW HOW BULLSEYE KILLED ME?”
Artistically, this is a very unique looking, perhaps even strangely drawn book, albeit not the strangest thing that Elektra has ever been a part of. The painted pages remind me of a cross between Dan Brereton and Bill Sienkiewicz, and the combat sequences are particularly well-handled. Most interesting is a two-page spread of Elektra’s inner-thoughts, which is in itself an important plot point that leads to the villain Bloody Lips’ demise. The difficulties of making a character like Elektra work are easily overcome by this issue, by addressing the fact that she’s not actually a super-hero at all, which makes reading about her as a central character more palatable. There are some weaknesses in the plot, as well as some difficulties understanding all that has been happening as regards Kento and Bloody Lips (which, in itself, is a name I can’t decide on: Is it brilliant in its simplicity, or just blunt and clunky?)
THE BOTTOM LINE: DREAM-LIKE AND DISTURBED
All in all, this is a solid issue, and one that I found surprisingly affecting, given that Elektra has never really been a favorite character of mine. The previous volumes of the book either tried too hard to shoehorn Ms. Natchios into the role of super-hero or over-emphasized the ninja aspect, so it’s interesting to see a book take her at face value and make the character work in the framework of a greater Marvel Universe. Elektra #5 has impressive art throughout, and has the potential to take the character in a fresh new direction, something that could finally pull her out of Daredevil’s shadow, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. I’ll be looking out for the next couple of issues to see where the story takes Elektra…