Co-Created & Written by: Kyle Starks
Co-Created, Cover, & Art by: Erica Henderson
Letters by: Deron Bennett
Edited by: Jon Moisan
Logo Design by: Andres Juarez
Production Design by: Carina Taylor
Someone is trying to knock off the former #1-in-the-world assassin, ‘Chekov’s Gun’. What’s a guy to do? Hire the world-ranked top twenty assassins to cover him that’s what!
In issue #1 of Erica Henderson and Kyle Starks’ new series, Assassin Nation, we meet one Mr. Rankin, aka Chekov’s Gun, former world-ranked #1 assassin. The thing about being an assassin is that you make a lot of enemies (at least, among the people you don’t kill,) and it seems that at some point Rankin royally ticked off someone with the means to make his life rather uncomfortable–‘uncomfortable’ in this instance meaning that he is spending an inordinate amount of time dodging bullets and exploding cars. So what’s a retired hit man to do when he’s the one targeted for the hit and he can’t figure out where the threat is coming from? Get the world’s greatest assassins to act as his personal heavies, of course! (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, amirite?)
The problem with getting a group of murderous types together, though, is that you’re effectively poking the bear—and these bears have guns. Specifically, #3 assassin Niles Roosevelt Axelrod, who was previously ‘poked’ by someone else ahead of this meeting of the minds. Rankin has announced an offer to all in attendance that he will keep them on retainer in order to keep his keister from meeting a messy end, but Axelrod has already had a better offer to kill Rankin. Once this is revealed, Rankin offers to double everyone’s fees, and all hell breaks loose.
Several bullet-and-gore-filled minutes and the execution of a legally sanctioned hit on Fernando (RIP) the (former) #1 ranked assassin in the world later, fourteen of the world-ranked top-twenty are history, leaving the new numbers one through eight:
- Taipan (By virtue of the fact that he was not in attendance at this hoedown.)
- Chad Fingerman
- Wistful Stan
- Connie the Tank
- The Mamba Twins (As the name implies, a two-person team.)
- Fuck Tarkington (Yes, that really is his name.)
Also left is one Maxwell Bishop—retired, but invited out of professional courtesy as the person who usurped Rankin’s #1 standing ten years prior.
And then there were ten.
My Two Cents: Dark humor and splattering cranial contents abound in Image Comics’ new release, Assassin Nation. Both the colors and the characters are vivid, and the dialogue is just the right level of salty for a troupe of hired guns. Starks and Henderson have created an underworld full of volatile and varied personalities and it’s going to be a pleasure to get to know them through the arc of this story—that is, the ones who survive. While it’s a simple premise at its core, ‘bad guy is being targeted by another mystery bad guy, targeted bad guy looks to other bad guys for help, some of them help and some of them try to kill him’, the creative team have added some side stories to liven things up. Who killed Maxwell Bishop’s husband, and will Bishop get his revenge? Who hired Axelrod to take out Rankin? And what the heck is Dave’s deal, anyway?! I’m sure all will become hilariously clear soon enough.