Review - Assassin Nation #1 (@imagecomics)

"For the safety of yourself and others, please leave your guns here."

The occupational hazards of being an assassin are many, one of which is the threat of other assassins turning their gun on one another. In Assassin Nation #1 Skybound Comics, multiple guns are turned on multiple assassins. The issue is written by Kyle Starks, illustrated by Erica Henderson and lettered by Deron Bennett.

The World’s Former Greatest Hitman hires the 20 best assassins in the world to be his bodyguards. These mean-as-hell hired guns and murderers must work together to keep the new crime boss safe while attempting to solve the mystery of who’s trying to off him.

The main story seems to be about Chekhov--a former number one hitman seeking protection from presumably other hitmen--as Starks seeks to inject some humor in the otherwise more macabre world of assassins. Starks' dialogue to this effect is very succinct in that it essentially gets straight to the point as to what's going on and why things are happening. And while the plot of the series lends itself to being relatively fast-paced and non-stop, the first issue seems a little erratic in how it feels very stop-start. Starks has a little trouble explaining the power dynamics of the universe here as well; for instance, if Chekhov was a former number one assassin now being targeted by another assassin it stands to reason that the new assassin would be on the list of the top 20 invited to his protection party since they would have to be that good (although it's possible a new assassin is on the rise. Starks doesn't really do much in the way of engendering the reader to Chekhov despite his plight and it's likely that one (or more) of the other assassins will rise to be more likable.

While the script is a little uneven, Henderson does great things with the artwork. Considering the book's tone, Henderson does a great job infusing a bit of humor and lightheartedness into the proceedings as her illustrative style feels exaggerated enough that it's not too mature or cartoonish. Where she particularly shines is in her approach to the assassins, giving each one a very unique physical look that matches their personality and makes them all feel different. Henderson also does great in keeping up with the action--despite most of the issue featuring a party, when things go south the action feels sufficiently frenetic. The colors in the issue are equally as noticeable as Henderson does an excellent job in conveying the emotion of the scenes based on a variety of bright colors.

Assassin Nation #1 is aiming to be a more comedic, dark humor take on John Wick. Chekhov is a former hitman turned mob boss (because reasons?) looking to his former competition as a means of protection from a presumed threat. Stark's premise in Assassin Nation #1 is interesting, but not entirely new, although it does offer some interesting characters and entertaining exchanges. Henderson's artwork is up to the task of creating a world where assassins mingle amongst one another in social settings before turning on one another. Assassin Nation #1 looks like it could be a lot of fun if some of the pacing evens out in future issues.

Assassin Nation #1 is available now.