Sometimes You Do Bad Things for Good Reasons (Assassin Nation #2 Comic Review)

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

Q: What do you call a group of assassins?
A: An accident waiting to happen.

In This Issue: Rankin needs to leave the (relative) safety of his home to go to a meeting, which means it’s go-time for his personal security team—what remains of the top-twenty world-ranked assassins, plus former #1 Maxwell Bishop. While the team (sans Bishop, who is with Rankin,) indulges I some pre-operation muffins, Dave attempts a little group bonding and asks everyone to share their first kill stories.

No one is thrilled by this suggestion.

The Mamba Twins are the only ones who volunteer their story. Their mother died in childbirth, an event for which the twins take credit. Everyone thinks this is weird. When Dave tried to include Chad Fingerman, the group is treated to a full-blown tantrum from the new #2. Fingerman has a serious superiority complex and s all up in Smoke’s business when Rankin and Bishop walk in. Bishop difuses the situation momentarily and mobilizes the team in order for Rankin to make it to his meeting. Once outside, it becomes clear that something is off. Suddenly a drone flies up the street, taking out the car, Ivan (the male Mamba twin), and Wistful Stan (who doesn’t seem particularly phased by the whole thing.)

In the aftermath, it is decided that the person—or rather, the gang—after Rankin is the employer of the new #1 world-ranked assassin, Taipan: Merra Morda. Drone strikes, UVAs, and tech bombs are their trademark. It’s clear that Rankin and his team are going about this whole thing the wrong way, but how do they turn that around? By doing what they all do best—turning the whole mess into an assassination.

My Two Cents: There is a section in this second issue of Assassin Nation that is both hilariously awkward and strangely poignant all at once. When Dave attempts to get the team to bond over first kill stories, we get to see those stories through the memories of the team members themselves. There is a fantastic series of panels which show us snapshots of several of these first kills, an the beauty of it is that we get to see them but the characters don’t. All of these hard-core assassins had good reasons to do bad things to begin with, and that humanizes them for the reader. It’s difficult to empathize with or care for a character who is simply a two-dimensional killing machine, and the way Starks and Henderson chose to grant their audience some insight into the psyches of their murderous mob was really very clever. This particular scene ends before we get a glimpse into every character’s mind, but there is a return to it for Wistful Stan in his final moments. He watches the drone meant to kill Rankin come straight at his forehead and you can almost hear the ’70s slow disco in the background as a silent series of images shows us Stan’s first hit. This is a wonderful artistic and narrative device that is purposeful but not jarring to the flow of the story.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org
Elizabeth Fazzio
Summary
Well, we're down two more (though because one of them was part of a two-person team, the rankings only go up by one,) but hoo boy, are there things going on under the surface. We already know—by virtue of the fact that he admitted the only reason he accepted Rankin's invitation in the first pace was because he was certain that whoever killed his husband was in the top-twenty—that Maxwell Bishop prefers the company of men, and issue #2 opens with a scene between Bishop and Rankin that takes a rather provocative turn. It will be interesting to see if that was a one-off or if it plays out. I'm anticipating a great deal more in-fighting between the members of the team, especially since Chad Fingerman has such an inflated opinion of himself, and Dave is, well...Dave.
Good
  • Quirky artistic details
  • Story elements are balanced
Bad
  • I found a typo...
  • Story is a bit predictable
8
Great
Art - 9
Story - 7
Writing - 9
Predictability - 7
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org

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