Saturday, 23 August 2014

Elektra, Volume 1: Bloodlines Review (W. Haden Blackman, Michael Del Mundo)

Phewf, this one was steenky! 

OK, so continuing Marvel’s inspired plan of giving their baddies their own titles - Magneto, Loki - is Elektra, whose series is the worst of the bunch. She’s already not a very well-known character but throw in nothing but unknown characters along with her and you’ve got a wholly unengaging story. 

But wait! you say, unknown characters can sometimes be interesting to read about too! And to that, I agree - if the writer is any good at characterisation. Unfortunately this series has the co-writer of the mediocre DC New 52 series, Batwoman, W. Haden Blackman, and he proves even less capable of writing strong female leads over at Marvel. 

Bloodlines is about Elektra accepting a job from Matchmaker (who?) to hunt down a “famous” (even though this is the first time anyone has ever heard about this guy) lethal assassin Cape Crow (who?) while being hunted by a maniac wearing a lion’s head called Bloody Lips (who?). Along the way we’ll meet Scalphunter (who?) and Lady Bullseye (Lady? Wha..?) in a pointless story you won’t give a crap about! 

Forgetting the other characters (done), Blackman’s version of Elektra is totally one-note and flat. She speaks in this droning monotone and there’s absolutely no sense of personality behind her dull words. In this book, she’s nothing more than a cipher who’s an adept martial arts fighter - one of many templates over at Marvel. 

But one thing Blackman’s been very lucky with is being paired with extremely talented artists. With Batwoman he worked with JH Williams III and Amy Reeder among others, while he’s working with Michael Del Mundo for Elektra. The first issue alone contains some of the best art there’s ever been in an Elektra comic as we get two splash pages in a row of Elektra dancing across the pages switching from her imagined life as a dancer to her reality as an assassin, her flowing red ribbon turning into blood splatter as she slashes her way through The Hand’s ninjas. 

The book is filled with awesome visuals from Bloody Lips’ entrance (awful name for a bad guy by the way) to underwater hallucinations (also, how long can Elektra hold her breath for - an hour?!), to aerial fights with grenades, this is one helluva great looking comic. It’s such a shame that Del Mundo’s work is in service to such a weak script. 

Of the many Marvel NOW! titles launched this year, Elektra’s down there as one of the most underwhelming. Great art, terrible writing/story - the search for a good Elektra book continues!

Elektra Volume 1: Bloodlines

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