The Silencer #1 – Dan Abnett, Writer; John Romita Jr., Penciller; Sandra Hope, Inker; Dean White, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Promising But Far From Perfect
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The second debut from The New Age of DC Heroes line, The Silencer #1, is an improvement over the over-the-top, action-driven Damage, but it also suffers from many of the same problems – a distinct 90s vibe and a new lead character who feels more like an intriguing side character than an out-of-the-box star. What it does give us that the previous book didn’t, though, is characters to care about.
From the opening page, where assassin Honor Guest is distracting her toddler son while facing off against someone she says ruined her life, we’re pulled into the dual life of our lead character. She’s one of the world’s deadliest assassins – or at least she was. Now she’s a wife and mother, living a determinedly normal life in the suburbs. We’ve seen characters like this before, of course – it’s one of the most common mafia and crime tropes – but seeing a non-white (Polynesian, per Romita Jr.) woman as the lead character in this role is certainly new.
I was most interested in Honor’s inner monologue as she goes through her day – both normal events and anything but. This is better than Abnett’s done with a lead character in a while. But when it becomes an assassin comic, my interest flagged a bit. The first major battle, in the parking lot of a supermarket, had some good scenes involving Honor’s unique tech – she’s basically another Deathstroke in some ways – and watching her dispatch the 90s-esque villain, Killbox, with some colored pencils was entertaining. But Talia showing up at Honor’s home and warning her about something called the “Underlife” coming for her swerves the series in a much less compelling direction. Sure enough, by the end of the issue, they’re far away from Honor’s family and battling stock 90s villains on the road. Talia’s a character who has a troubled history outside of DC: Bombshells, and it feels a bit too early to throw her into Honor’s story. There’s promise here, but it’s not a home run yet.
Corrina: The one thing this issue does right is to provide the reader with a compelling lead character. As Ray notes, we’ve seen this concept before, usually with a white man who wants to settle down (see the RED movie starring Bruce Willis), but there are two big differences from the usual: Honor is a woman and she is a woman of color. That should add a different vibe to this story, much as Jessica Jones added a different level to the damaged private investigator in the Jessica Jones television series. In this case, the focus is on Honor’s private life as a wife and mother.
Honor has something to fight for: two someones, in fact, her son and her husband. (Hello, Long Kiss Goodnight.) And fight she does in the parking lot, with the terrific sequence Ray mentions, where her struggle is intercut with scenes of her son quietly playing games inside the car. But, Killbox? Yes, that is such a bad 90s extreme name that it hurts. Romita’s art overall, while dynamic as always, also seemed to be skewed in that “extreme” style, which surprised me.
This issue raises many questions that will need answers. Why did Honor leave her old life? Why did Talia let her go? And what led Honor to be an assassin in the first place? Will Honor’s family still be able to accept her if they know the truth? The first issue made me interested in those questions but it needs to dig deeper into Honor’s psyche to move from good to great.
Also, as Ray said, it did feel like it was too early in this story for Honor’s home to be attacked so openly. This is one of those times where I can’t decide on the overall quality of the series until I see more issues.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.