The second of issue of Elektra shows the titular assassin continuing to face off against Arcade in Las Vegas. It’s an interesting choice of villain for the street-level protagonist, but how well do the two characters mesh?
Elektra #2 (Marvel Comics)
The issue begins with Arcade being classically menacing in his office, speaking with one of his henchmen about his evil plans. The scene then shifts to Elektra pondering her next move, after having revealed her presence to Arcade last issue. Writer Matt Owens’ attention to Elektra’s morality and the question of if and when she should intervene to save other people’s lives is appreciated, as it establishes an inner conflict that is ripe for further exploration. Unfortunately, once the action starts we don’t get much more in the way of moral dilemmas or indecisiveness. Hopefully future issues will expand upon the potential this one builds for possible character arcs and development.
After some thought, Elektra opts to abandon the bartender she saved last issue in favor of lying low. Before she can return to hiding, however, she gets attacked by The Court. The Court are a group of robot servants to Arcade with visual motifs reminiscent of DC’s Royal Flush Gang. Artist Juann Cabal’s designs for them are charming, and his rendering of the ensuing fight scene is superb. As with the last issue, Cabal’s art manages to capture the essence of movement in a way that is as satisfying and clear as if we were watching scenes play out in live action. Seeing Elektra quickly and brutally take down her opposition even when outnumbered and caught off guard with no conventional weapons of her own successfully builds momentum and a feeling of excitement. This iteration of Elektra is a badass, as she should be, and crafting awesome battle scenes continues to be the creative team’s forte.
The issue’s main problems are with its pacing and scene-cuts. A few of the narrative shifts kill momentum rather than build it, and one of the shortest scenes ends before one has time to grasp where or why it began. This hampers the issue’s cohesion a tad, but the fun badassery of the action scenes along with interesting aesthetic choices more than make up for the pacing issues. Arcade, with all of his delightful camp, contrasts very well against Elektra’s more serious tone. The choice to pit these two against each other was inspired, and their dynamic adds to the issue’s sense of fun. It’s worth noting that the issue’s camp elements don’t feel reductive to Elektra’s character. Rather, they help highlight what’s great about her character.
While the middle portion of the issue loses some points for being less coherent than the beginning and end, this is still a strong issue. It ends on a cliffhanger that is well-utilized instead of feeling arbitrary, and it leaves one eager to see what the creative team does next. Elektra continues to be a series to watch.