by W. Haden Blackman, Michael Del Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso
Since the debut of 2014’s Elektra, W. Haden Blackman and Michael Del Mundo have impressively created an unconventional visual storytelling experience. The story is what one would expect in a book whose main character is an assassin; however the cast of Elektra is given characterization and an interesting plot.
Elektra and Keno are in pursuit of Keno’s father, Cape Crow while being pursued by the deadly Bloody Lips. This leg of the journey takes place in an ancient city built under a beautifully rendered ocean. During their travels, the narration switches between characters providing a contrast in point of view and as vehicle for exposition and characterization. Bloody Lips and Elektra meet with surprising and intense results. The final act of the issue is a little confusing; the narration switching works against the exposition, there is hope that more will be revealed next issue.
W. Haden Blackman is very creative in his narrative technique, at the worst of times text boxes can slow down the story’s pace. Haden Blackman uses text boxes to enhance both the pace and provide plot and character development. These text box narrations allow the art to reflect and provide amazing visual context over 2 paged spreads unhindered by panels or dialogue boxes. Blackman provides two sides of the tale, allowing readers to get familiar with Bloody Lips, Keno and Elektra. By allowing the narrative to be told by all three characters, Blackman wants readers to establish a connection and familiarity to all of them. This is a good break from the typical superhero book in which only the hero’s narrative is given.
The double page spreads in this issue are simply gorgeous. The depictions of Bloody Lips mindscape are both frightening and fantastic. These pages are filled with the perfect amount of visuals without overpowering the sense. The transitions within these splash pages are natural and flow perfectly with the script. Del Mundo captures the watery scenery in a muted dense fashion that gives the impression of being underwater with the cast. The action sequences are intense; Del Mundo does not shy away from depicting violence on the page. Del Mundo and D’Alfonso, who both share color credits, make good use of color flow to capture the watery dangers and intensity where needed.
This title could have been a simple by the numbers hired killer yarn. Stunning art along with a creative story telling technique save this book from being mundane. Under the helm of Blackman and Del Mundo, Elektra is a gorgeous book with an interesting plot and characterization.