Friday, December 22, 2017

Review - Assassinistas #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"Waffle hut. Yeah, they let us store our weapons in the dumpster."

Most assassins will inevitably get to the point where it's one more job and they're out. They finish that job before trying to make a go of it at a normal life. It's not long before the siren's song of the thrill of the previous line of work is too much to ignore. In Assassinistas #1 from

The issue is written by Tini Howard, illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez, colored by Rob Davis and lettered by Aditya Bidikar.

Dominic Price is a college-age kid who just wants to spend the semester making out with his boyfriend, Taylor, in between rounds of TurboLight Fighter and maintaining a solidly passable 3.2 GPA. His mom, Octavia, formerly a badass action-movie-quality bounty hunter, didn’t pay his tuition, because she had to get back in the business and spend 40K on black market weapons and body armor. And she’s bringing Dominic with her, because the alternative is making lattes for a semester, and he’d rather die. Good thing in mom’s line of work, dying is an option.

The concept of an assassin for a mother is definitely new territory and Howard explores it with a sort of reverence. Howard's script explores the Assassinistas in their heyday before moving to the present, where they've traded high-adrenaline hits for daycare, college tuition for their kids and insurance jobs. It's a pretty drastic dichotomy that Howard handles well, effectively making the main characters a bit more relatable to readers. Still, Howard's plot feels as if it's somewhat predictable, as it doesn't take much for the reader to make some quick logical jumps about how things will play out in the end. That's not to say that Howard can't throw a curveball here and there and it's apparent that there will be some interesting exploration of the relationship shared by Octavia, Dominic and Taylor.

Considering the subject matter of the book being focused on assassins making their way as every day people, the art style by Hernandez is a somewhat odd choice. Hernandez relies on a somewhat loose and ambiguous style, doing enough to give the reader a sense of what's going on without going overboard on the detail. It's a style similar to that found in many newspaper comic strips and doesn't really feel like a match for the content of the story. Hernandez illustrates everything with very simple lines and characters who don't really seem all that expressive considering the stakes they'll likely be playing with. Davis' colors are equally as simple in that he really doesn't stray too far from the primary colors in the book.

Assassinistas #1 is an interesting concept for a book that looks to take a few turns as it progresses. Octavia is down on her luck supposedly living in a post-assassin world, but that won't stop her from doing what it takes to support her family. Howard's script is pretty straightforward for the most part, exploring some unique situations that require moral ambiguity. The artwork by Hernandez isn't necessarily bad, but it doesn't really feel like the right fit tonally for the subject matter. Assassinistas #1 has the potential to get pretty fun pretty fast.

Assassinistas #1 is available now.

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