With Kingpin and Bullseye also enjoying their own series at the moment, it makes a lot of sense to mine Daredevil‘s supporting cast some more and give Elektra her own solo book once again. The Man Without Fear’s ninja lover has had her ups – the original Frank Miller run with the character – and downs – the awful Jennifer Garner movie – over the years, but if handled well the character still has a lot of potential. This opening issue isn’t particularly strong on its own, but it does hold promise for the future.
Elektra #1 throws the Greek former-assassin out of New York and into Las Vegas, where Ms. Natchios has come to escape her past. Though she’s only looking for some time out, trouble still finds Elektra and she soon has to stand up for a woman caught up in the schemes of the crooked bosses of the Midway Casino. Schemes that have ties to a classic Marvel supervillain…
This issue marks the comic book writing debut for Matt Owens, who’s previously worked for Marvel’s TV division on both ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Netflix’s Luke Cage. It seems Owens’ TV experience has served him well for the change in mediums, as he has a solid handling on when to use dialogue and when to let the artwork stand on its own. There isn’t a great deal of focus on the title star here, but Owens captures the no-nonsense kick-ass attitude that has made her such a fan favourite.
The story itself, though, seems a little rote at this point. The victim of the tale, the young woman Elektra befriends, is a walking cliche – a wannabe actress who’s ended up working in a bar. Corrupt Casino owners aren’t exactly original, either, but at least their dealings are a front for a new supervillain plot from the aforementioned classic bad guy. The pacing is also slightly off in places, such as spending a whole page on the thrilling scene of Elektra washing her hands in the bathroom.
While Owens’ writing is a occasionally patchy, the artwork from Juann Cabal is first-class throughout. His clean-cut lines perfectly suit the change in location from Elektra’s usual gritty, dark Hell’s Kitchen to the gaudy glitz and glamour of Vegas. The issue ends with a terrific action sequence which reminds us how deadly Elektra can be with her sai – even against a group of armed bouncers. The only off moment in the art occurs in a cheap bit of cheesecake, as one panel needlessly focuses on Elektra’s rear end.
Notably, Elektra’s outfit is redesigned to match the more functional model worn by Elodie Yung in Netflix’s Daredevil. The character’s traditional skimpy red number was always ridiculous for a ninja to wear, so it’s a practical change as well as a bit of company-wide cohesion. It actually looks a whole lot better on the page than it does on screen. In particular, Antonio Fabela and Marco Menyz’s vibrant reds and jet blacks really bring it to life.
All in all, Elektra #1 is a decent opener for the ninja-assassin’s new solo run. Owens does a good job in his comics debut but it is a slightly slow start to the “Always Bet on Red” story arc. Still, there’s no reason these growing pains won’t be ironed out in future issues to make this a must-read book for Daredevil fans.
Elektra travels to Las Vegas in this first issue of the ninja-assassin's new solo book. It's a bit of slow start, but there is some fantastic artwork to enjoy here.