Let me start by saying though I respect Elektra as a character I don't know alot about her which is why I bought this trade & (Elektra: Assassin by Frank Miller).
The first thing I should mention if you haven't read the trade of the 2001 Elektra series there will be SPOILERS!!!
The first thing I noticed about this is that it starts at issue 7 (the first issue Greg Rucka worked on so I'm already behind a story arch (there's no real problem to it it's just a pet peeve of mine). Although since it's and the first 6 issue story arch was written by Brian Michael Benis I may of dodged a bullet.
A big issue I have with this trade has nothing to do with Greg Ruckas writing but is the fact the artist changes every 2 issues it's really hard to stay invested in a character when she keep changing. The art goes from digital to photo like to decent to ridiculously cartoony back to good again.
Now on to Greg let me just say that I generally like Greg Rucka's writing but here I have some issues. The main bulk of this trade is Elektra going through massive character development. She is faced with the monster that she is (a person who kills man, woman or child with no remorse regardless of whether or not they were her targets or just collateral damage). And decides after a brief suicide attempt that she wants to be more then just violence.
This story arch starts around issue 10 when Elektra is "fired" from her employer (they kill to kill her but she just kills them all). After a month of no jobs she begins to lose it and begins to pick fights when sensis of random Dojos and kill random bar thugs, after killing them she's about to kill herself but is stopped. A problem I have is that the "break down" of Elektra is that it happens to quickly in my opinion and it seems kind of random. After I thought about it for a while I came to the conclusion that she was suffering from some form of P.T.S.D (POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER), which can happen to some soldiers after they some back from war. The reason they gave was that she's addicted to violence & was going through withdrawal.
After being shown the horrors she has committed including killing the fiancée of the man whose showing her the error of her ways she decides to kill herself through snake venom. This is well done on Greg Ruckas part & I did enjoy it for the most part, but while being shown this Elektra seems to have the I.Q of a young child even calling her kidnappers Wheels (the man is called Jeremy Locke & he's in a wheel chair) & big (his friend called Philip Carson), now this could be because she is heavily drugged but it seemed strange to see Elektra the bad-ass assassin as innocent child-women.
After not dying she returns to her kidnappers to and get them to kill her but it doesn't work. They decide to try and help her become a better person by introducing her to Drake, a women who has been in a similar situation to Elektra. This part of the story gives good development to her kidnappers turn saviours. The issues following her training with Drake are good solid issues which show character development for both Elektra & her new sensi Drake. It even goes into Drakes past showing how she was once as lost as Elektra.
In the end she is forced to fight the hand with Drake, in the ensuing fight Drake is poison off panel and dies. This is where I'm worried for Elektra's supporting cast, if her Sensi someone who is better then her is killed then what hope do the rest of the cast have. Jeremy Locke is used as human bait to draw Elektra out while she asks his bodyguard & friend Philip Collins to assist her, he does.
By the end of it Philip is shown as a capable sniper even killing one of the main villains but dies & Jeremy Locke is killed off needlessly. The villain from the hands even taunts Elektra asking her why she hesitates when she has enough skill to kill him and save Jeremy but she kills them both by running her sword through them both. The trade ends there.
I'm not sure whether or not Jeremy dies at the end but if he did it seems like a massive waste of character development and story arc, the arc from unemployment (issue 10) to her becoming a student and wanting to change lasts until issue 22 . If she ends up giving in to the violence and becoming addicted again it is a very disappointing story arch. I know Elektra won't stop killing people it's made clear that she won't in the book but her realising that she's addicted to violence, trying to fight it & then giving in to it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth as a reader and as a new fan.
If someone read the 2001 Elektra series can tell me what happened afterwards and if this story arc made any difference whats so ever I would be most appreciative. And if your a fan of Elektra or thinking of picking this up I would recommend it. Despite my gripes with the art & possibly the ending Greg Rucka made me care for Elektra which is what any good writer should do.
Thank you for reading / listening to mini-rant / mini-review of this trade.