December 19, 2014

Marvel Reviews: Elektra #9

ELEKTRA9Elektra #9
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: W. Haden Blackman
Artist: Michael Del Mundo
Cover: Michael Del Mundo

There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be reading Elektra! This creative team has taken this character and continuously elevates her issue after issue with some of the most exciting, yet weird stories, and amazing artwork. I won’t assume it’s an easy feat to take a well established character like Elektra and bring something new to fans who have “seen it all.” However, Blackman and Del Mundo push the envelope in this series and tell some of the best spy/ninja/action stories sprinkled with a bit of the supernatural that have come out of Marvel in a while. You may have seen Elektra go after Bullseye before, but Blackman makes sure that you’ve never seen it done like this!

Ever since the Hand stole Bullseye from S.H.I.E.L.D., Elektra has been determined to retrieve his body and make sure her longtime enemy stays dead. But the Hand is nothing if not secretive, and Elektra has no way of knowing where they have taken him. So how does Blackman have her begin her search? Well, by participating in some black magic and feasting on a dragon’s heart, of course! However, this trip is for one passenger only, and Maria Hill is left behind while Elektra is transported to Bullseye’s location. But don’t worry, because she finds back-up in the strangest and most impressive of allies before taking on a horde of ninja!

There is just so much going on that you won’t be able to believe Blackman has contained it all to just 22 pages of story. He takes us from the supernatural to the emotional, then into a huge ninja battle, all the while making it seem like a normal occurrence. It’s refreshing that he can take something as simple as this and infuse it with so much creativity. Like his description of the taste of the dragon’s heart. It just might leave a bad taste in your mouth. Blackman also continues to flesh out Elektra for anyone who may be new to the character without it being a chore to those that aren’t. Throughout all of the action of the series and weird twists, Blackman makes sure that Elektra comes first, and attempts to make a connection between her and the reader.

Del Mundo continues to floor readers with his visual stylings that do exactly what art is supposed to. Many of his panels tell a story within a story, so it’s a good idea to keep looking beyond what you’re supposed to be looking at. The entire sequence between Elektra and Matt is one of those moments where Del Mundo fills the double page with so many visual cues that say more than the narrative could. Then he turns around and once again delivers a fight sequence that is just as visceral as that scene was heartfelt. Del Mundo makes sure you feel the impact of each attack from a kick to the face, to when Elektra broke a Hand ninja’s leg that immediately made me wince. She also battles a son of Death, named Shibou, that is yet another brutal exchange of martial arts skill, and you’ll want to look it over several times. Marco D’ Alfonso’s colors are perfect the entire time, and continue to elevate an already fantastic looking story.

If you have yet to check out Elektra then go ahead and give it a try. Blackman and Del Mundo have shown that they are true storytellers, and even made a believer out of this cynical reviewer. Elektra is another one of those titles that you might not have known you wanted, but it’s actually one of the best coming out of Marvel right now! So it is a shame that the series will soon be ending, because you’ll be complaining about the lack of strong female characters in good stories, but missed out on this one. There’s not much more praise I can say about the series or this particular issue which is pretty much perfect. I’d give it two sais up!

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