Elektra: Assassin #1-8
Issue(s): Elektra: Assassin #1, Elektra: Assassin #2, Elektra: Assassin #3, Elektra: Assassin #4, Elektra: Assassin #5, Elektra: Assassin #6, Elektra: Assassin #7, Elektra: Assassin #8
From a certain point of view, it's kind of a shame that one of the best things to come out of Epic was a series using Marvel's super hero universe. Epic had the potential to be Marvel's Vertigo. But i love the Marvel Universe, so from a selfish point of view i'm glad.
The plot is relatively straightforward. Elektra is going after a Beast, possibly literally a demon that was raised/summoned by the Hand to take over America by possessing a presidential candidate, Ken Wind.
Elektra is pursued by an experimental cyborg created by a morally problematic division of SHIELD. Elektra gains control of the cyborg, manages to stay a step ahead of the rest of SHIELD, and in the end defeats the Beast and swaps the cyborg's mind into the body of the new president.
It's a pretty cool plot, but it's the delivery that puts it into a higher category. The first issue is told from Elektra's perspective, and it demonstrates her mental instability very well.
In terms of panel layout, character perspective, and symbolism, the first issue of this series is basically David Mack's entire career (and let me be clear that i like David Mack's Kabuki series quite a bit).
The rest of the series is for the most part told from the cyborg John Garrett's perspective...
...and the ability to work with that perspective allows the story to be told from unique angles. Garrett also isn't particularly stable, and he soon winds up somehow bound to Elektra. It's not clear to me whether she was able to program him or if she's meant to be demonstrating mystical ninja powers or if he's just crazy enough to voluntarily become subservient to her.
But Miller's internal monologues and somewhat stream of consciousness narration just provide a really great way of delivering the story. And Sienkiewicz's painted art, with experimentation in panel layout, cutting and pasting, and abstract pictures make the whole thing riveting.
Quality Rating: A+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place quite a bit before its publication date, prior to Elektra's first published appearance in Daredevil #168.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): show
A number of fan publications (for example, Back Issue) have run articles labelling this series as "questionable continuity" in relation to Elektra's (and the Marvel Universe's in general)history.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 11, 2011 5:40 PM
D.G. Chichester's arc leading up to Daredevil 325 reveals that the story happened but the ending is just what Elektra hypnotized Garrett into believing happened. Which raises the question of how much of the rest of the story was real.
Posted by: Michael | September 11, 2011 5:55 PM
Really weird to see Nick Fury sitting in a giant gun. I thought that was an invention of NEXTWAVE, but apparently it was an hommage!
Posted by: Berend | February 9, 2014 11:34 PM
According to Miller in Comics Journal #113, Elektra's molestation by her father was only her imagination.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 17, 2014 3:58 PM
I dropped the series after three issues when it first came out. I think Miller and Sienkiewicz bring out the worst in each other. It's all machismo with no real human emotions or even a coherent storyline. I only recently bought the reprint to get the backstory for all the characters in Hickman's Secret Warriors.
Posted by: Andrew | January 4, 2015 6:10 AM
I read this series in college while researching parallels between the progression of themes in Greek tragedy and in super-hero comics. Allusions to Elektra and Clytemnestra aside, I didn't find much for my paper, but this was a ride I'll never forget. I'm glad to see it's considered "in continuity."
Posted by: TCP | June 11, 2015 10:55 AM
I think that if we didn't have this series, Sienkewicz could have really done some damage to some child's brain...this looked to me to be an utter funfest.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | June 11, 2015 11:38 AM
In Comics Journal #197, Dean Haspiel stated that he painted some backgrounds for this.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 6, 2016 12:11 PM
I'll never understand this kind of art/storytelling. I can't follow along. And another thing. Wolverine was a secret service/soldier/assassin, and Miller shoehorned him into ninja/samurai world... while Elektra was a ninja/samurai from the getgo and in her first stand-alone series... she's up against cyborgs and political plots (the whole "demon" thing might as well be symbolism IMO).
I guess I just never liked Miller's work. And Sienkiewicz's art might be good eye-candy but it's just not good storytelling. I just can't follow it.
Posted by: will | September 28, 2017 4:28 PM
I really liked this series, but it was definitely an oddity, in many ways. My favorite character by far was Chastity, but Garrett was surprisingly likeable-- a rogue and semi-thug to be sure but really not that bad and with a bit of a moral compass. One can detect sort of subtle hints that Chastity kind of likes Garrett even though she would hardly admit it and would never actually date him for a million reasons.
Probably my main complaint of this series is that Elektra is just far too powerful here. If she were really this powerful, Bullseye would have been toast (plus Daredevil, Kingpin, and almost anyone else in DD's world).
The series is in the MCP, and I personally took Chichester's Fall from Grace as confirmation that most of this story 'happened' in some sense, but I'm not sure some of the specifics (like Elektra cutting an almost impenetrable steel alloy with a samurai sword, for example) can really be taken literally.
Posted by: intp | September 28, 2017 4:38 PM
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