Dark Reign: Elektra
For those of you who do not know her (or if you haven’t seen the
Daredevil or Elektra movies—and I wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t), Elektra Natchios is the Marvel Universe’s greatest assassin. Draped in blood-red and wielding a deadly pair of sai, she is a true force to be reckoned with. Not even death can stop her: Elektra has been killed and revived on more than one occasion. This penchant for resurrections garnered the interest of the Skrull Empire, who captured the assassin in order to learn her secrets of everlasting life.
After being imprisoned for months, she was subjected to heinous experiments so that her captors could learn her secrets. Additionally, they sent an agent of their own down to Earth to pose as the assassin and further their endgame of taking over the planet. When Elektra was finally freed, she learned that the Skrull posing as her made a few enemies…enemies Elektra herself must now deal with. Standing in her way is “rehabilitated” supervillain Norman Osborn, now heading the world’s largest spy agency, who sends a familiar face to take Elektra down: Bullseye, the man who once killed her with her own sai…and will gladly do so again.
Zeb Wells is one of the best—and most underrated—writers working in comics today. He manages to deftly weave together superb storytelling with years of continuity that captivates new readers and delights old fans. This review falls in the former category, as I was never a fan of the Elektra character (even during Frank Miller’s acclaimed run on Daredevil, I could never really get into the character). Thus, I haven’t kept up with her recent adventures, so I was a tad hesitant to read this series. But Zeb Wells rarely disappoints, and I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.
And I’m glad I did. While I initially feared I’d be lost since I haven’t read an Elektra comic in years, Wells quickly lets his reader know who Elektra is, what Secret Invasion was, and how it all plays together, without leaving his audience feeling bogged down under the weight of exposition. What he does leave us with, however, is a tightly woven, fast paced story with enough twists, turns—and yes, even a few vivisections—to make any comic fan stand at attention.
On art duties is former Daredevil artist Clay Mann, whose work captures Wells’ tone perfectly. Mann’s artistic style is elegant although tinged with a hint of darkness, not unlike Elektra herself, making him the perfect choice for this tale. And kudos must go to Mann as the artist does not chose to oversexualize our heroine, a crime all too many comic book artists today are guilty of. Instead, he gives us a strong, powerful female figure, one who is equal parts graceful and deadly. By the looks of Mann’s rendition of Elektra, the character could easily break your heart or break your neck.
The team of Zeb Wells and Clay Mann has put together a rousing tale of espionage and intrigue while somehow managing to keep the story grounded, despite such plot elements as reborn ninja assassins and alien impostors. A fun tale for anyone looking for a good alternative to standard superhero fare, Dark Reign: Elektra will have your heart racing until the very end.