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DD Book Club: Elektra Assassin
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Dimetre
Child's Play


Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 901
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the strongest thing about this issue is the unique voice possessed by every character, particularly Beaker and the general. Beaker is so moved by ExTechOp's work to a demented degree. I also really enjoyed hearing about Arthur Perry's background. That makes him a truly fearsome villain, especially since he has the same narcotic in his blood that Elektra has.

Honestly, the least interesting part of this issue were the scenes involving Elektra and Garrett. It seems they were put in simply to titillate a male audience. To be fair, they very likely fulfilled their purpose. However, there is a lot of character development in the scenes involving Fury and McBryde. We learn more about Garrett from McBryde than we do from his own scenes. He is as scummy a character as we suspected, but not nearly as bad as Perry.

I'm somewhat surprised by what the Beast was trying to accomplish with the general. Did the Beast get what it wanted? Was the Beast trying to show that there was a dangerous level of insubordination in the military?

This issue suffers from a lack of importance in the title character's scenes, however that is made up for in the ExTechOp scenes and the terrifying background reveal for Perry. I give this issue four out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of time early on is spent on Garrett obsessing over/trying not to obsess over Elektra. It's hard to really tell the point of this. The plot seems to develop with other characters so it almost feels like it's just there to keep them appearing in the comic and maybe some humor with the bondage stuff.

Chastity still seriously injured at Garrett's hands. She gives a bit of the background of Garrett. I think this is the first time we get a clear distinction between Extechop and SHIELD. It's still a subdivision or in partnership, but it's very autonomous and Garrett is apparently not a SHIELD agent. Extechop is talking about reviving Perry. I think they gave enough information earlier, when combined with Extechop's shady practices to realize this is not a good idea. I like it as the evidence develops and Fury kicks into high gear. This is Sienkewicz, so there's no reason to think Fury's gun is supposed to be that big, but everything in this story is somewhere between surreal and satire, so maybe it is. Speaking of the art, the little creature thing with Perry never ceases to amuse me. It had to spend some time looking to see if it's supposed to look that way. Apparently it's a product of Extechop's experiments as well.

Meanwhile, Ken Wind is taking over the mind of a general. This does a good job raising the stakes and demonstrating the danger in everything because of his ability to start nuclear war without necessarily even winning the White House. The ending with the general killing himself does set the tone for what's to come.

Overall, this built a lot of side plots in ways that I think were necessary. At the same time, it also felt like it was a bit of a distraction. Four Stars.
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about the delay in getting this posted. I wasn't near a computer yesterday.

Elektra Assassin # 7 - Vox Populi



Quote:
The Beast-possessed Ken Wind is about to win the Presidency of the United States. Elektra and Garrett are out to kill him before he does.


Due 9/2
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
Posts: 901
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one is going to be shorter than my usual, because I have less to say.

It seems that this issue exists almost solely to move the characters into position for the big finish. I feel like Miller and Sienkiewicz applied less effort here than usual. A lot of the issue is eaten up by splash pages depicting the Beast's visions, along with a double page spread of Ken Wind's election victory.

We find out more details about Perry's mechanical make-up. Elektra tastes the Beast's milk again this issue, but is able to handle it this time -- I'm not sure why.

This issue is fine, but it feels like the least essential issue of the series. It does what it has to. I give it three out of five.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I go back and forth on whether it was a good idea to add an entire subplot at this stage. Elektra vs. the Beast was interesting, but it ran of the risk of staleness. On the other hand, you don't want this plot to be a distraction. Eventually, it seems the two intersect. I think this confirms the narcotic that found in Elektra's system they're synthetically producing is the Beast's milk. Apparently even with an artificial version, Wind is in control of Perry (or, more accurately, is able to use him for his plan).

Honestly, though, I found the opening scenes quite fun, but the next several pages are quite dull. The only thing that eventually saves it are the splash pages of Sienkiewicz that are at least interesting in their enthusiasm. The Beast's plan is to destroy the world. It's not a particularly new plan. Nor is using nuclear war to do it. But it does show the stakes (although given how the current President is holding that button, it's hard to imagine we're in a much better world either way).

Overall, this was a bit dull and slow. Three and a Half Stars.
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Mike Murdock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elektra Assassin # 8 - Hail to the Chief



Quote:
Elektra and Garrett are prisoners of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Has Elektra's ultimate enemy, the Beast, truly won?


Due 9/9
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I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Dimetre
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I've finished reading this whole story again, I have to stress how unique this series is in the comics medium. The combination of Miller and Sienkiewicz makes for comics unlike any other the world has ever seen. Of their two collaborations, I rate Elektra: Assassin above Daredevil: Love and War, simply because this series makes better use of its title character.

When this issue started, I was worried that we were four months after the last issue's cliffhanger. I was afraid that Miller was pulling a Bendis -- telling an entire issue in flashback for no other reason that to make a boring story more artful than it really is. I shouldn't have worried. Having now read the entire issue, it was an inspired choice to tell the story this way, since we only find out how different the present day is at the issue's end.

There will always be things about this series that will continue to amaze me. Where did Sienkiewicz get the idea to use that single image of Ken Wind throughout the story? Why does nobody within Marvel remember Elektra's psychic abilities?

Also, there was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Simpson in this issue, but he was quickly killed by Perry. If Elektra: Assassin occurs before Daredevil #158, could it be that this agent was rebuilt by ExTechOp and turned into Nuke? Miller wrote this pretty soon after "Born Again," so I think there's a good chance.

If these events do predate her debut appearance, it's kind of funny how serene and calm the life of a bounty hunter would seem in comparison to the fight against the Beast and S.H.I.E.L.D. in this series.

Sienkiewicz's shifting and often messy artwork gives the violence in this issue a truly chaotic feel, and at times the shifting point of view from Chastity to Garrett to Elektra herself is tough to follow. But in the end I think it all comes together.

If I have to knock this series for anything, it's that it's easier to respect than to love, and I think that's because we're lacking a hero. Elektra, to be certain, is courageously going up against the Beast, but she's also a murderer, so that keeps her at a distance. We don't want to connect with her in an emotional way. Garrett is a straight-up asshole, and he seems to serve as a conduit through who we see everything. We're reluctant to connect with him in a deep way. We get precious little time with Nick Fury. I'm curious how different this story would have been had Miller made him a more central character. My point is, it's easier to connect with a story if it has a heroic figure like Matt, no matter how brilliantly crafted a story featuring unsympathetic characters may be. I respect Elektra: Assassin very highly, but I can't give my heart to it.

I give this issue a 4.5 out of 5, and I recommend this series whole-heartedly to anyone with any interest in the comics medium.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to think back on how I felt the first time reading this story. Knowing the ending, this story feels very different. I seem to recall the whole thing with the Soviets very much in line with the vision of the Beast destroying the world. There's a certain narrative distance here. The whole story is told with a certain sense of it being a foregone conclusion. Given the opening, that definitely made me wonder how it would turn out. Was there time to reverse course?

As things become more chaotic, it is nice to actually see the other SHIELD agents encounter the Beast and validate some of what Elektra and Garrett have been doing. I think the story does a good job being its natural confusing nature while hiding the clues in obvious plain sight. The ending itself is something I think the groundwork has absolutely been laid. I also like how Elektra is still the character who wins the day even though Garrett has been the lead character since the second issue.

That being said, it's an ending I felt very uncomfortable with the first time and still do. The politics of it are very weird. Is it a satire of Republicans? Democrats? The political system? None of it? I'm glad we didn't get nuclear war, but we almost did even without the Beast. In the end, I think it's deliberately uncomfortable. I'll give it Four and a Half Stars.

Dimetre wrote:

There will always be things about this series that will continue to amaze me. Where did Sienkiewicz get the idea to use that single image of Ken Wind throughout the story?


More impressively, that's apparently a picture of Bill Sienkiewicz.

Quote:
Why does nobody within Marvel remember Elektra's psychic abilities?


Honestly, there are enough continuity issues in this story (such as those related to John Garrett) that I try not to think too hard about it. The Chaste can at least communicate telepathically, even if the rest of Elektra's powers seem unique to this story.
_________________
Matt Murdock's cooler twin brother

Not sure what to read next? Check out the Book Club for some ideas!

I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Thomas More - A Man for All Seasons
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