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
And then there were seven. (And Maxwell.)
In This Issue: In the aftermath of the drone attack that killed Ivan (the male Mamba Twin) and Wistful Stan, Rankin and his crew of misfits are pretty sure they’ve got their target—Echidna, head of Merda Morra, employer of Taipan, the #1 assassin in the world. The plan is simple: tuck Rankin away in the panic room while the team stakes out Echidna’s HQ and waits for him to leave for one of his ‘every couple of weeks’ mystery medical treatments. Since Echidna’s goon squad are mostly run-of-the-mill gangster thugs, no one foresees any particular issues with the plan. Chad Fingerman and Dave are positioned in the building across from Echidna’s as sniper support, while the rest of the team form a storming squad and breach the Merda Morra hideout. Unfortunately, after a promising start to their raid, Taipan chucks a grenade their way and takes out Connie, effectively pinning the rest of the group down. Fingerman comes to their aid with some exceptional—if not impossible—shooting, of which Maxwell Bishop takes notice. Taipan takes Fingerman out of the fight temporarily with a well-thrown rock to the face, and then turns around and is attacked by Navi, the remaining Mamba Twin, on a mission for revenge. It doesn’t end well for her.
Echidna and a few remaining thugs are spotted taking a side exit. Dave picks off the guards and questions Echidna, who claims that the drone strike wasn’t him—it was someone trying to set him up. If he was trying to stir up trouble, why would he leave his virtually impregnable hideout to see his doctor? He’d just move the doctor in. Dave sees the sense in this, but then Fingerman appears and blows Echidna’s brains out even as Dave yells at him to stop.
Hearing his boss get splattered in the alley, Taipan takes off into the night.
Back at Rankin’s, Dave tries to make a case of what Echidna told him, but Fingerman is adamant that the gang lord was lying, and Rankin agrees. Dave invites Fuck over to meet his wife and have a barbeque. Rankin apologizes to Bishop for the whole situation not really helping to solve the mystery of who shot Bishop’s husband, though Bishop hints that perhaps it did after all. Then Bishop and Smoke have a rather touching moment (She calls him ‘Gun Dad’, it’s cute.) because he can tell she’s upset about losing Connie and Navi. He tells her to get out of the business because it’s the best way to protect her family and friends. He thought he could protect his husband, but that’s really hard to do when “…there’s someone out there who can make an impossible shot.”
My Two Cents: Assassin Nation is back for another round of murder-fueled shenanigans. Starks and Henderson’s motley crew of homicide enthusiasts continue to entertain in as brightly-colored and full-of-things-going-BOOM! a way as any thrill-seeking reader could wish. (Seriously. Even the dark moments are brightly colored. How does Henderson do that?!) One of the things I appreciate most about Assassin Nation is the commitment to making all of the characters people rather than caricatures, which would be so simple with a premise like this. While they may not regale us with huge amounts of backstory, the snippets of past events and small asides we as readers are privy to serve to round out the characters in a meaningful way. Well, apart from Fingerman. That guy is just a jerk—and it looks like the might be a good reason for that…