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’ #2, ‘The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson’ #1, and ‘Kill or Be Killed’ #15.

Week In Review: Assassinistas #2Assassinistas #2

Black Crown/IDW/$3.99

Written by Tini Howard.

Art by Gilbert Hernandez.

Colors by Rob Davis.

Letters by Aditya Bidikar.

Not until Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez put their heads together did I consider that my list of things both adorable and badass could get up past three (for those keeping track at home: Mustelids, O-Ren Ishii and The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog round out the lineup). Assassinistas just goes to show that ass-whooping and nurturing aren’t all that mutually exclusive. We’ve all heard of that mama bear trope, right?

Octavia, the gun-toting, toke-swiping mother of slightly knuckle-headed Dominic, keeps little hidden from her son and his boyfriend, so when she tells them they need to accompany her on an “extraction,” they happily pack the car and hop in. The outing could have easily been to the local Redbox to pick out a DVD, rather than to setting up a campsite perimeter with fully automatic weapons. Taylor gets a little ahead of himself trying to impress his boyfriend’s mom, and Dominic’s face is frozen in a perpetual state of concern over who’s going to embarrass him more. Just another night out with mom and the boyfriend.

Howard’s dialogue skips along at a comfortable pace, making you feel like a part of this semi-functional family. Hernandez’s thick lines and minimal shading brings to mind 90s punk show posters, with a little less anarchy and a lot more heart. I don’t know how he makes these characters so expressive with such a straight-forward approach, but the readers can sense every ounce of Octavia’s confidence and feel all the flinches and panic of the boys’ naivety. I look forward to seeing how the power of blood bonds blends into the dynamics of the Assassinistas’ chosen family. It’s a series I’ll likely stick with to the end.

8.5 out of 10

Week In Review: The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #1The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #1

Image Comics/$3.99

Written Eddie Gorodetsky and Marc Andreyko.

Art by Stephen Sadowski.

Colors by Hi-Fi Colour Design.

Letters by A Larger World Studios.

From superhero to glorified birthday party clown, Nick Wilson has fallen far. Landing in a pile of cowshit was perhaps the perfect way to punctuate the end of his crime fighting career. Now, laughed at and covered in a 6-year-old’s vomit, things don’t seem to be able to get much worse.

But this is comics, so of course they do! And really, you’ve got to hand it to him for taking it all in stride. Eddie Gorodetsky and Marc Andreyko have created something of a modern day Everyman, or at least given your high school’s cocky star quarterback a cape. Nick Wilson the failure is a far more endearing character than Nick Wilson the sexcapading defender of justice. Gorodetsky and Andreyko understand the value of self-medication when the disappointments of aging and unrealized expectations kick in, and for Nick, they’ve kicked in with the force of an Assyrian battering ram.

Stephen Sadowski gives the characters irresistibly expressive faces and awkward body language that makes you want to reach out and give them a hug. While the reader is privy to every emotion running through Nick’s head, however, Sadowski cloaks the potential villain in mystery, obscuring his face from full view. Looks like trouble may be brewing in Cleveland, and Nick may be the one to help stop it. After all, this series can’t be all bong hits and memory boxes, people.

7.5 out of 10

Week In Review: Kill or Be Killed #15Kill or Be Killed #15

Image Comics/$3.99

Written Ed Brubaker.

Art by Sean Phillips.

Colors by Elizabeth Brietweiser.

Letters by Sean Phillips.

We’ve all got our demons to battle, but most of us are lucky enough to have to wage those wars metaphorically. Not so for Dylan, saved from a gruesome, self-willed death by a demon that requires a monthly payment in blood. As if this old world doesn’t get our wheels turning enough as it is, Dylan’s existential struggle is thrust far past a depressing news ticker and into a personal narration of the sins of everyone around him. You gotta hand it to the demon, really. He’s just trying to lighten Dylan’s load. It’s much easier to be a vigilante when you know which human excrement to wipe off your boot.

Eventually, though, enough is enough. Selling your soul day in and day out has its expiration date. Dylan is finally trying to take back his life, attempting to deconstruct the beast. Figuring out whether you’re cursed or just plain ol’ crazy can be easier from within the walls of a mental institution, and so there our hero currently resides.

Ed Brubaker’s crime saga is pretty straight forward, as far as tales of possession go. Mental illness is explored through action more so than pontification. It’s definitely a book you’d have no trouble imagining as a movie, replete with dripping black blood juxtaposed against a snowy New York (shot through a grey filter, of course). What brings me back to this series, though, is Sean Phillips’ artwork. He does depression well, whether it be a stark landscape or a vibrant city scene. Most arresting is Dylan’s unchanging visage, taking that shell-shocked look from the subway, to the cinema and even back to the bedroom. It’s the look of one who has given up too early, who can’t even trust the veracity of his own machinations. It’s the type of haunting that will make you want to know the ending.

7 out of 10

From earlier this week — 

REVIEW: Read ‘Eternal’, a staggering shieldmaiden’s tale told with the utmost craft and care

UNDERCOVER, or: Five covers from this week that we won’t live without

‘Black Lightning’, CW DC Stuff, & Hawkguy — CASUAL WEDNESDAYS WITH DOOMROCKET

STAFF PICKS: Ever-smiling, ghoulishly jolly ‘Ice Cream Man’ ready to meet your gaze

10 things concerning Ryan K. Lindsay and ‘Eternal’

ADVANCED REVIEWS: For Berger Books’ debut, ‘Hungry Ghosts’, the table is set, the atmosphere macabre

EXCLUSIVE: The Silver Swan’s guilt trip gets deadly in ‘Wonder Woman’ 39

REVIEW: ‘Days of Hate’ dares to take today’s political power dynamic to its logical extreme

BUILDING A BETTER MARVEL: ‘Champions’ #16 a blast of energy and pathos that’s also super-duper fun

What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.

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