Assassin Nation #1 (Image Comics)
What happens when a bunch of the world’s top assassins are put into a room together? It might look something like Assassin Nation, the new Image title from Ryan Starks and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl artist Erica Henderson. Unlike that Marvel title though, Assassin is very much an M-rated title, and it’s all the better for it, as Henderson’s talents aren’t hindered in the slightest by removing the restrictions of Marvel.
The assassin known as Chekov’s Gun has retired, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t want him dead. After surviving multiple attempts on his life, and frustrated with his security team, Chekov assembles twenty of the world’s greatest assassins and offers to pay them their per diem fee to keep him safe until the threat is eradicated. The only problem? Almost all of the assassins he’s assembled have already signed contracts to kill him, so now it’s winner take all when it comes to who gets the bounty.
I mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating: this book is as far from Unbeatable Squirrel Girl as it can be. While not gratuitous for the sake of being gratuitous, the book does have some pretty strong language and violence, so anyone expecting the goofy humor of Squirrel Girl should definitely keep their expectations in check. Kyle Starks is well known for more harder edged stories like Sexcastle, and that doesn’t lessen up here, delivering some pretty brutal moments that also have a touch of dark humor as well.
Erica Henderson’s art really benefits from the Image imprint. Her style worked wonders for Marvel, but it works even better for this kind of title. She and Starks already make a great team, but it’s really refreshing to see how hilarious her panels can be when she’s drawing three dudes getting their heads shot off by one bullet, or the way she gives every assassin their own distinct personality before they even speak. This book is easily going to make Henderson an even more sought after artist.
Assassin Nation may not be the book you’d expect from members of the creative team’s previous work, but it is a book that showcases the range that these two creators have. Who knows, if this does well, maybe we’ll see more creator owned work from Henderson in the future.