Howard & Hernandez continue to keep us on our toes with ‘Assassinistas’ #3
By Brandy Dykhuizen. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. This week: ‘Assassinistas’ #3 and ‘The Fix’ #11.
Black Crown/IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by Tini Howard.
Art by Gilbert Hernandez.
Colors by Rob Davis.
Letters by Aditya Bidikar.
As we begin to learn a little more of the Assassinistas’ collective backstory, Tini Howard takes us through multiple high-impact flashbacks, giving the reader a window into the ladies’ shared brain-splattering past.
In the process of establishing the trio’s budding dynamics, Red October, Scarlet and Blood Diamond knock out early assignments together that unveil deep-seated grudges and gripes. The details of Octavia and Dominic’s relationship are still anyone’s guess, though – family is a complicated business, after all.
Assassinistas turns the circle of life on its head. There’s an awful lot of death in what should be the women’s halcyon days before they start creating life. And the carnage doesn’t necessarily stop once they start popping out that wombfruit. It’s a parent’s job to prepare their young ones to meet the world head-on, and if hits and mayhem are all you’ve known, then maybe training your spawn to be quick on his toes and good with a gun isn’t exactly remiss parenting.
Gilbert Hernandez of course continues to impress, drawing us right into his Seventies aesthetic. He’s a master of body language, positioning his characters on the page in a very straight-forward, easy-to-read manner. There’s lots of motion – exaggerated leg extension in the fleeing scenes and even palpable eye twitches when the characters are at rest. Tension abounds, discernible in every frown and worried gasp. We have no problem jumping right into the fracas and immediately getting swept away by the characters’ spunk and vigor.
Assassinistas continues its strong and engaging run. Never any shortage of creative surprises, it has become one of my favorite new books. Howard & Hernandez, keeping us on our toes.
7.5 out of 10
Written by Nick Spencer.
Art by Steve Lieber.
Colors by Ryan Hill.
Letters by Marshall Dillon.
The Fix is a deliriously ADHD story of two corrupt LA cops with, well, not quite hearts of gold, but maybe moderately rusted steel? In a city where the arteries of organized crime are as big as fault lines, you’ve always got to look out for number one. But getting too close to corruption comes with a price, and eventually even the best-laid plans are going to get severely shaken up.
This issue starts out with an apology of sorts – yeah, Nick Spencer realizes he’s not the first writer to tackle the insanity and depravity of Los Angeles. However, he does it with enough depth and nuttiness to keep us hooked. Spencer keeps his character count fairly low, devoting ample time to both explore the extents to which each of these crazies will go to get the attention they want, and to let them fill the pages with a pleasantly warped form of coworker banter.
There’s a delightful montage of the unexpected forms grief can take – from shoplifting (poorly) from Amazon’s new organic acquisition to snorting lines of blow off a horse’s ass at sunrise – which is honestly worth picking up the book in itself. Steve Lieber captures the “why did I sell my soul for this gig” expressions of civil servants in the country’s least civically minded city, and the chilling Jekyll and Hyde oscillation of sadistic Josh’s moods.
It’s a jungle out there – a bloody mess, even. Just as soon as you set the ball in motion to achieve your dream, you realize you lost everything along the way. The Fix relies on a satisfying darkness that rivals its comedic value, which makes it all the more worthwhile a read, at least to me.
7 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.