Neglected Favorites -- ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN

Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio

From time to time, I’d like to share with you, oh maniacal throngs of the Comic Vine community, choice comics from my personal favorites.   Comics that have had a profound influence on my writing and (for whatever criminal reason) haven’t received as much attention as I deem appropriate.   ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN is one such neglected work.

 Now, there's a BFG...                                      

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

After world-class ninja Elektra assassinates a South American dictator, SHIELD sends agents from its suspicious ExTechOp cybernetics division after her.    Handling the operation is the crass, out-of-shape ex-con John Garret, an agent who’s vastly, vastly outclassed by this target.  Quickly caught in Elektra’s humiliating and painful web of “psychic domination”, Garret becomes an unwilling tag- along for her outrageous war against the Hand assassin clan’s unholy political conspiracy.   Hunted by SHIELD agents and supernatural ninjas alike, Elektra and Garret must stop Ken Wind, a charismatic presidential candidate whose mind’s been swapped with the Beast, the unspeakable demon worshiped by the Hand.  

 Wild cat vs. plague rats.

WHY THE FUSS?

Few works can be so positively described as “a good kick to the head” like this ’86 mini-series.   It’s an octane-charged fever dream on paper, rock n’ roll made manifest in sequential art, a real meeting of two mad geniuses’ minds.   For me, this is better than DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, SIN CITY, 300 and the rest of Frank Miller’s higher-lauded “greatest hits” and that’s in great part due to three simple syllables…

 
 
 
Sink-Kev-Vitch.

 
 
 

Bill Sienkiewicz’s been imitated by a generation of artists, but never duplicated.   He’s a true artist with a true mastery of most media.   Pen & ink, water colors, charcoal, gauche, even crayons… you never know what he’ll throw at you.  Yet even his wildest, most decadent artistic flourish always parlays into the plot, forging a sublime chaos.

 Garret & Elektra's odd relationship.

Agent Garret’s a wonderfully-repugnant, politically-incorrect schmuck but, by virtue of storytelling alone, he’s also resoundingly sympathetic.   When Elektra’s invading his mind, the imagery fractures and you feel like you’re head’s splitting open too (but in a good way, trust me). The plot’s delirious pace and art’s unpredictability keeps you on your toes, just as this two-bit thug finds himself in over his head amongst demon-worshipping ninjas and shrouded blue midgets.   Forgoing plot, you can enjoy this as a uniquely sensory experience that only comics can provide.   
 
 
   

 
 
 
 
 

HOW TO BREAK THIS DOWN?

Very, very few comics have given me a Scout’s honor, 100% Grade A certifiable adrenaline rush like this did.   When I read it (going on six years ago, now), I couldn’t help but finish all 200-odd pages in one sitting.   This is a storytelling textbook for me. Miller and Sienkiewicz drop you blind into one bizarre situation after another, then kick the gas to 75MPH and let you fill in the gaps later.   With minimal explanations, this comic’s at once viscerally thrilling and intellectual complex, freely mixing gun fights with Freudian archetypes and high-speed chases with world mythology.  

 You can't get much more brazen...

This comic’s as old as I am, but ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN’S still fresh, brazen and incomparable.  The collections out of print, but go find it now! Somewhere! I guarantee, you'll be in for one hell of a ride.

WHERE’S THE BEST SCENE?

Oh, that’s hard.    There are so many…

The splash of Garret’s cyborg body getting “stapled back together” by cruel, grinning ExTechOp technicians after Elektra sends him back to them in pieces is the most singularly-striking image.  Can't find it online, but it's still carved into my brain.   It’ll make you wince.  

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics.   Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com

#1 Posted by Captain Cascader (1284 posts) - - Show Bio

To this day still my favorite comic book series of all time. I remember picking up the Hardcover years ago when I was going through my Miller phase. Didn't think anything could touch The Dark Knight Returns but this one floored me with the artwork. To me  Sienkiewicz is the best artist pairing with Miller, whose prosey ramblings fit with with Sienk's chaotic style.

Staff
#2 Posted by rouju (159 posts) - - Show Bio

OK, I don't read her comic often nor care about Skrull invasion, ain't she supposed 2 be dead?
 
Cool artwork though.

#3 Edited by MysterioMaximus (931 posts) - - Show Bio

Really wonderful idea! The Master of Illusion, Mysterio, being one of my personal favorite characters, I’ll never have a problem with taking more obscure of underappreciated characters and books and giving them some much deserved attention. It's always nice to see the so-called "lessers" get some needed notice. These days, a lot of my favorite books are one-shots and mini-series's that have nothing to do with main on-going continuity.  And I always felt Miller was at his best on DD and his cast of characters. Outside of that world, I find him very hit or miss.
   

#4 Posted by Meteorite (3347 posts) - - Show Bio
@Tom Pinchuk:
 Have you read the "Fall From Grace" story arc of Daredevil? It follows on from this series (sorta) and is really good. I haven't read this mini, but I really need to.
 
#5 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

WOW!!!! This is some real old school shit here.  I haven't thought of this series in a loooooong time.  This was before Miller was a god.  See that price on the cover that says $1.50  That's because it was the special mini-series price.  Books were more then likely $1.00 or under.  This was around the Wolverine/Havok mini in a similar style.  Thanks for making me feel old Tom you're an asshole.
#6 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

You're gonna make bust out my old DD books now too.  Anyone remember  DD Man without Fear by Millar and John Romita Jr?  Old but not as old Electra.  I still think your on crack if you think Electra is better then DK Returns.

#7 Edited by MysterioMaximus (931 posts) - - Show Bio
@goldenkey said:

"WOW!!!! This is some real old school shit here.  I haven't thought of this series in a loooooong time.  This was before Miller was a god.  See that price on the cover that says $1.50  That's because it was the special mini-series price.  Books were more then likely $1.00 or under.  This was around the Wolverine/Havok mini in a similar style.  Thanks for making me feel old Tom you're an asshole. "

Really? ...this is old? To me, 60's and 70's comics, which I avidly read more then any and also happen to vastly prefer over most today’s "main continuity" Marvel comics, not to mention wish I'd see some retro reviews of, are old. Heck, I wish they'd let me do retro comic reviews! This to me isn't that old at all. It's always funny and fascinating to me how people consider characters like Venom old, when he's really pretty modern compared to how long Spider-Man or Marvel has been around. One mans classic is anothers contemporary. Some today have no respect for where these characters came from and I'd be lying if I said it didn't bug me. They seem to forget that many are 40 plus years old.  
 
And no offense meant of course, but I've never looked at Miller as a god. Did you read his All Star Batman or see his Spirit film? Ugh... to me he's a guy that got lucky and put his best stuff (which is amazing, especially his DD work, I won't deny) out when he was brand spanking new into the business. As he got older, demanded more freedom do to his success, he was set loose and given free reign...and started going too far. Miller kept in check is amazing. Miller without a leash is overly-dark to the point of unintentional comedy, filled with the same redundant cliches, and ridiculous. But hey...that's me!  
 
And I must be a cokehead then...cause I don't even especially like DKR. I find it easily his most and the most overrated Batman book yet to be made. Gimmie Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, Death in the Family, and many others over Dark Knight Returns any day! By no means is it bad, I just don't think it's the best thing since sliced bread either. ; )

#8 Posted by uncanny89 (821 posts) - - Show Bio

this is possibly one of may all time favorite books, This is what the Elektra film should of been imo
#9 Posted by Jamiracles (351 posts) - - Show Bio

You guys should really put together a list of the best comic covers of all time...

#10 Posted by Dane (10474 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think it's neglected. I really enjoyed the story but personally didn't care for the art at times.

#11 Posted by Green ankh (997 posts) - - Show Bio
@uncanny89 said:
"this is possibly one of may all time favorite books, This is what the Elektra film should of been imo "

I am with you 100% This was my favorite book for years.
#12 Posted by Illyana Rasputin (2771 posts) - - Show Bio

Remarkable review! I really appreciate all of the valuable information. This title reminded me a lot of the 80's films that were so campy and exploitative, they were forced to stop making them. I am a fan of Bill Sienkiewicz’s work on the New Mutants. Some people don't care for his work, and I can understand that, but he is undeniably a great artist. There are certain panels that are fantastic, and the Elektra: Assassin series stands apart from the titles you had mentioned in it's own right. Thanks!    

#13 Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio
@Meteorite:  I haven't read that arc.  How directly does it get referenced?  I do remember Garret and, of course, Elektra showing up in ELEKTRA LIVES AGAIN, which is another neglected work.  One thing I like about this, as well, is that it basically takes place in its own world.  Nick Fury's really the only character outside of Elektra's little network, and you don't need to know anything about him.
#14 Posted by No_name_here (1223 posts) - - Show Bio
@Captain Cascader:  Didn't notice this until just now, but you definitely hit the nail on the head about  "Miller's prosey ramblings fit with with Sienk's chaotic style" The whole thing's like a fever dream to me.
#15 Posted by Thor'sHammer (67 posts) - - Show Bio

Sienkiewicz is a great guy, he signed my  Elektra issues and Big Numbers, a book he did with Alan Moore.  I saw this black and white piece he was making of The Shadow and Batman, it was stunning.  He is a true original in the biz and I think Sam Kieth owes him a debt of gratitude. 

#16 Posted by Meteorite (3347 posts) - - Show Bio
@Tom Pinchuk:
John Garrett ties into Fall From Grace a bit, and the psychic connection Elektra made with him basically leads to the Hand looking for an experimental virus (which is basically the plot of the story arc).
#17 Posted by brendon277 (513 posts) - - Show Bio
@rouju:
No she was replaced by a skrull imposter her imposter was killed
#18 Posted by brendon277 (513 posts) - - Show Bio

I wouldn't mind marvel putting out more Elektra comics. It'd be AWESOME.
#19 Edited by SamMillar (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Always loved DD. One of the most underrated characters in the Marvel Universe.  Then along came Elektra... 
www.millarcrime.com

#20 Posted by Daredevilwithoutfear (90 posts) - - Show Bio
@brendon277 said:
" I wouldn't mind marvel putting out more Elektra comics. It'd be AWESOME. "
Same here as well!!!
#21 Posted by kingoftheworld (254 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved John Garrett in this series. i loved being the only guy in the shop that knew who he was when Secret Warriors came out and no one knew who he was.
#22 Posted by kingoftheworld (254 posts) - - Show Bio

Assassin should have been mentioned more in Secret Warriros since John Garret was such a huge part of tha book.

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