On the search for a new path in Sin City, Elektra may have found a calling in her newest series debut. Is it good?
Elektra #1 (Marvel Comics)
The artwork in Elektra #1 will jump out and grab readers from the opening page. The clean lines of Juann Cabal along with the striking palette by Antonio Fabela and Marcio Menyz creates a vibrant book that immediately contrasts with the sensibilities that one might expect from an assassin’s story. This works incredibly well with the story’s setting; Elektra #1 brings to the page the eternal daytime quality of the Las Vegas strip.
A minor quibble with the artwork is that there’s a particular panel of Elektra’s rear as she prepares her sai for an oncoming group of henchmen. It’s not that cheesecake is an inherently bad thing, but there’s no point to it here–no agency by our heroine, no hint of self-awareness by the comic. It’s a gratuitous distraction at a point that readers should be relishing in Elektra’s ability to kick ass, not her having one.
It’s unfortunate because the execution of the rest of the comic is so well done that this particular panel sticks out like a sore thumb. Cabal gives Elektra an acrobatic style of motion that is essential for a character of her background. Writer Matt Owens does an excellent job of providing just enough information and dialogue before pulling back and letting Cabal work. This is perhaps most obvious in the combat sequences, but it also shows in the dialogue between Lauren and Elektra. Whether it’s Elektra’s long stare at her shot glass or the way a single tear messes with Lauren’s mascara, there’s a lot of depth conveyed in the moments when Owens holds back on the dialogue, and it’s these smaller bits that make Elektra #1 such a fun read.
Is It Good?
Elektra #1 is the rare comic debut that will grab readers and refuse to let go. There isn’t a complex plot requiring tons of exposition, but that allows for the visuals of the comic to flourish. Juann Cabal’s illustrations tell readers so much about Elektra from the way she moves and fights, and colorists Marcio Menyz and Antonio Fabela do a wonderful job giving the assassin new life in lively colors that poetically contrast with the death she brings. Comic book newcomer Matt Owens comes out swinging, showing a talent for knowing when to let the art tell the story while not forgetting that character comes through both action and words. For fans of the character, this issue was already a must-get, but all comic book readers should give this debut a look.