by Haden Blackman & Michael Del Mundo
Elektra has been a lot of things over time. The first issue hinted at this colored past with its initial sequence, with a reminder of this run in the credits page of the book, defining the major roles she has played. This series, though, is about the assassin. After she made the decision to move on, redefine herself, and seek purpose Elektra took a contract from The Matchmaker. The first issue had ended with the hint of a villain, mystical and deadly, and readers are brought back into the series with more of the man known as Bloody Lips.
Over the course of the first few pages, Blackman scripts the inner thoughts of this very unique character. The man swirls about in shallow water as readers are made privy to his thoughts. He talks of tasting his victims, consuming them and their talents as well. The progression through this line of thought is not grotesque, but it is effectively unsettling. Readers watch as the man catches and consumes a shark while following his narration around the pages. Artist Michael Del Mundo continues to stretch his panels across the pages in a gorgeous format. Often times in these issues, Del Mundo’s page layouts and visual aesthetics make it feel as though the pages are actually moving. It is then with Bloody Lips’ mention of the target, Cape Crow, that the story moves back to Elektra’s pursuit of the man on Monster Island.
Del Mundo alters the color palette just slightly to reinforce the shift in setting and readers learn a bit more about the missions Elektra is on. Blackman’s writing of Elektra, the assassin, is expertly handled. As Del Mundo shows readers the landscape of Monster Island and the elements that Elektra is using to follow her target, Blackman scripts out the narration of a tracker quite well. The narration is wholly for the benefit of the reader, and yet the exposition is never clunky or problematic to the progression of the story. Instead, Blackman manages to be more engaging in how he writes Elektra on the hunt and it makes her all the more convincing as the deadly assassin she is said to be.
As she comes upon other assassins on the same contract, the story transitions into a beautiful fight scene. Del Mundo uses a two-page spread to showcase the ballet-like choreography of Elektra and Lady Bullseye as the two spar. All the while, Scalphunter faces the giant in the background. Showcasing two different battles transpiring in the same space without separate panels could make for a real headache to follow. Instead, Del Mundo’s talents turn this into the highlight of the issue.
The plot still feels mostly like setup so far. Blackman plants a few more seeds in this second issue, and it appears as though the story is about to make a jump in setting again. After two issues, Blackman’s scripting has seemed to be intent on laying some basic ground work, but also providing ample space to showcase the art of Michael Del Mundo. As a result, the story remains a bit simple thus far. However, his scripts have included incredibly well crafted moments and Del Mundo’s art is not to be missed. It is still unclear what Elektra will be, but for the art alone this is a title that should be in everyone’s hands.