The Silencer #13 – Dan Abnett, Writer; V. Ken Marion, Penciller; Sandu Florea, Inker; Mike Spicer, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Finally, Some Background
Ray: The Silencer is entering its second year of stories as one of only two books not yet canceled from its line, and it’s doing so by completely upending its concept. When we last left off, Honor Guest had made a devil’s bargain with Talia, agreeing to give up her civilian life and family and return to the service of Leviathan. And just as she did, Talia threw her out a window to her death. The reason for that soon becomes clear – at the start of this issue, Honor is in the Lazarus Pit being restored to full strength. And as Talia makes clear, this is also to wipe out her previous memories and leave her an ideal blank slate for Talia’s purposes. While Honor is incapacitated for the bulk of the issue, Abnett and the guest art team take the opportunity to explore her origin before she became a Leviathan assassin. Until now we only saw her early days as an assassin, but this takes us to the beginning.
It turns out Honor was a child without a name, an orphan taken in by the teachers of assassins at St. Hadrian’s. Given that school’s ties to so many major storylines in the Bat-verse, it’s not a big surprise they have their hands here too. Honor started as a student, but one who displayed an incredible skill for violence even as a child. The issue establishes that Honor is a metahuman – her cone of silence is a natural ability, not technology. The various fight scenes look great, but Honor’s personality isn’t really given any additional depth this issue.
We know she wants normalcy and doesn’t want to spend her whole life in service of violence, but we never quite learn why. Talia is an intriguing, sinister mentor but the art kind of undercuts what they’re trying to do with her. She always has a sinister smirk on her face that gives away that she’s going to betray Honor. The new status quo is a big question mark coming into the next arc, and I’m hoping this title doesn’t lose the human touch that was its biggest strength.
Corrina: A full year in and I still don’t know why a normal life was so important to Honor. Yes, I see that she was someone without a home who Talia manipulated. I see why she could be manipulated.
But I don’t see, at any point, her glimpsing at the normal life most people have and thinking “I need that.” Without that moment, without that realization that she dislikes what she becomes and wants it to end, someday, there’s a huge hole in Honor’s characterization.
I’ve always liked this character but it’s so frustrating to see that lack of depth, especially now that we’re in for “loyal uber-assassin” for a time, or so it appears. At least her husband and son are alive, which isn’t the way my cynical self expected this to go down. (I thought they’d be dead.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.