Assassin Nation – Another Dead Image Comic
Assassin Nation #5
Sadly, another Image title has come to a close, but this one was a bit more expected. The mini-series that has been “Assassin Nation” had me hooked from the beginning with all of the awesome personalities that have been introduced. We’ve quickly grown close to several awesome characters to see the majority of them brutally killed in this crazy game of ego and death that was this story. As it was stated in the previous issue, Rankin, the man that hired the assassins to protect him, set up the entire scheme to actually get them all to kill each other. As the remaining assassins storm the compound that Rankin is hiding out in, they are all met with their own obstacles. Dave and F**k Tarkington are still the best assassin duo in comics, but even they are not doing well against Rankin’s newly appointed tough guy. The way that Tarkington is easily he is handled after seeing how brutal he usually is in the past give a great perspective of how bad this new bodyguard really is. After a rough battle, explosives are dropped and the duo is presumed to be dead. Also trying to make her way to Rankin is Smoke, who is getting handled by Chad Fingerman, the number one ranked assassin that Rankin has working with him now. Just as it seems as if Smoke is done for, we cut to Bishop who has snuck his way directly into Rankin’s quarters. From here Rankin’s entire plan is revealed to Bishop after a shootout leading to Bishop being cornered and wounded. That plan being to also take out Fingerman after all of the other assassins are executed, including his newly hired bodyguard. Once everyone is dead, he can once again be the number one ranked assassin. The pettiness to this scheme is so perfect for what the tone of this story has been from the beginning. On top of all that, he was also the guy that killed his husband. Ironically, he was not the target, Bishop was. Just as it seems like Rankin wins, the door busts open and in bursts Smoke. Short story shorter, Smoke is now the number one ranked assassin and Tarkington and Dave get to live to fight another day. As Bishop recovers in the hospital he is visited by what is essentially any hopes of there being a second volume to this story, an entirely new group of assassins fresh for the rankings.
Kyle Starks did a great job with this story and how these characters were all handled, granted, most of that “handling” involved killing them suddenly and brutally. One thing I admire was the “Game of Thrones” like twist in the end with the ultimate underdog on the throne. As interested and drawn as we all were to characters like Dave, Bishop, Tarkington, and plenty of others, Smoke was never really focused on too much. When it came down to her potential demise via Chad Fingerman, I personally didn’t think twice about it. I fully expected it to be Dave busting through that door. Just as I thought I was going to be disappointed with predictability, Starks managed to come through and deliver a bit of a twist. I truly appreciated how everyone was handled in the end. The fact that it was still left open-ended does give peace of mind to the fact that there may be more adventures of F**k and Dave with the potential of a slew of new threats as Smoke sits atop the ranking board of assassins.
Erica Henderson was brilliant on pencils and colors throughout this entire story. I loved all of the character designs and how they matched the personalities of the individual. These visuals were the perfect compliment to the awesomeness this story delivered. The art also played a huge part in the comedic moments spread throughout this issue. From colors to consistency, this book was incredibly appealing on a visual level.
All in all, I look froward to a second volume of Assassin Nation, although I now know not to get too close to any particular assassin too soon. If you appreciate a story where no adored character is safe, then this is the perfect book to jump on. It delivers with the laughs and the action. Starks and Henderson are the perfect complimentary team to deliver this type of story. This final issue had a great twist, a big reveal, and the perfect open-ending to something I only want more of.
It delivers with the laughs and the action.