REVIEW: “Elektra #4” Killing in the Name Of | FanboysInc

REVIEW: “Elektra #4” Killing in the Name Of

By Cody Mudge

REVIEW: "Elektra #4" Killing in the Name Of

Written by: W. Haden Blackman

Art by: Michael Del Mundo

Published by: Marvel Comics

$3.99

As the penultimate issue of the opening arc of the series, “Elektra #4” succeeds in almost every capacity. Writer W. Haden Blackman reconciles the issue of Elektra’s characterization, continues to make Bloody Lips one of the most compelling villains in comics, and still manages to fill the issue with an exciting action scene that is leading to the inevitable climax. When Bloody Lips and Elektra (or Ellie as he calls her in this issue) throw down next installment, the action is guaranteed to drop your jaw because Michael Del Mundo is rocketing this series through the ranks with his phenomenal artwork.

It’s clear that Blackman is trying to convey that Elektra is a tormented creature. Being an assassin will do that to you. And yet he takes it a step further when he directly compares and draws a correlation between Elektra and her antagonist. The opening sequence reinforces an interesting take on the hero/villain concept. The morality of ones actions can colour ones view and holding them up to the scrutiny of others is the ultimate, and only effective, way in satisfying whether something is either “right” or “wrong”. This inquest allows “Elektra #4” to be the most emotionally and intellectually savoury story to date.

Bloody Lips is a villain so compelling he warrants a paragraph all his own. The horrible actualization of some of the superstition behind cannibalism in the real world makes this character terrifying. The depth with which we fear death is immense but to consider death by being eaten is a primal fear on an entirely different level. The very act of cannibalism is in taking another person’s life-force; in stealing the very thing that makes them, well, them. Blackman puts a sadistic twist on this through Bloody Lips who actually gains the knowledge of your experiences and your abilities through the consuming of your flesh. Add to this the fact that he’s utterly mad and you’ve got a villain that is disturbing and an interesting moral counterweight to Elektra herself.

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I’m running out of good things to say about Michael Del Mundo. When I started reviewing this series (at issue #2) I praised Del Mundo as being worth the price of admission all on his own. And I hate to sound like a broken record here, but the same is true for this installment. It’s a pretty safe bet that any other comic that features his name on the cover is worthy of the same treatment. Part of what makes his work such a joy to experience is the width and breadth of his talent. There’s seemingly nothing that makes him uncomfortable, nothing that can’t be conveyed with clarity and grace. Page after page is executed to a degree as close to flawlessness as being indistinguishable from it. As a critic I take my job to you, the reader, very seriously, and yet I’m unable to find a failing in the work of the indomitable Del Mundo.

Elektra is quickly becoming one of the great series in comics. It has a unique voice thanks to Blackman and an artistic identity thanks to Del Mundo. The two combine to create a tone and atmosphere that sticks out like a Ferrari in a parking lot filled with Toyotas. Flip open to a random page in every comic you bought this week and you’re going to be hard pressed to find one that’s more impressive than what you’ll find in Elektra. The only concern I have over Del Mundo’s involvement in the series is what’s going to happen if he leaves.

How long will Elektra be able to continue to sustain her own series? The unfortunate reality may be that the answer is: not very long. The previous issue of this title sold just over 22,000 copies; a pretty meager showing, even in this comic sales climate. The fact of the matter is that the deck may have been stacked against Blackman, Del Mundo, Elektra and Marvel before the game even began. Sales don’t indicate how good this series is though, so if you’re a fan of Elektra it’s time to start evangelising, because this great book stands on uneven footing. I’m sure Elektra being a female is just a coincidence too, huh? Go figure.

Verdict:

Elektra has become a fine example of why comics are a legitimate art-form. This issue features some of the strongest work by the creative team to date and now they just need to deliver the goods. For those that want a great book that helps diversify the landscape of comics, this is a book for you, or if you don’t care about that, pick it up for the slobber-inducing artwork!

“Elektra #4” earns 8.5 / 10

REVIEW: "Elektra #4" Killing in the Name Of