Review – Assassin Nation #5 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artwork: Erica Henderson
Lettering: Deron Bennett
Release Date: 17th July 2019

With the few remaining survivors of the world’s “Top 20” assassin list realising that they may have been set up, Kyle Starks and Erica Henderson’s Assassin Nation delivers an all-out action set piece of a conclusion. In this final chapter, our impressive foursome find themselves fighting for their lives against some of the most dangerous individuals (other than themselves) in the world, and finally getting the uncovering the full story about the events that have brought them to this point.

It perhaps doesn’t deliver quite as many chuckles as some of the previous issues (glorious sound effects aside), but still provides an immensely satisfying resolution to this five-part story. Admittedly, the logic behind Rankin’s phony attempts on his own life isn’t particularly difficult to predict, but Starks does a good job of giving the whole reveal a pleasing injection of action movie bravado that works rather well. After all, you just can’t beat a good ol’ bad guy monologue, and having it delivered during a sizzling close-range gunfight feels like a perfect fit for this series.

We also get a fairly epic showdown between Dave, Fuck Tarkington and the seemingly unkillable Taipan, further cementing this pairing as my absolute highlight of the series, as well as a thrilling exchange between Tricia and Fingerman.  This is definitely a crowd-pleasing conclusion, and watching all these individual “match-ups” coming together into the greater story works well in giving this issue a real sense of dynamism from start to finish.

Speaking of dynamism, Erica Henderson’s artwork continues to absolutely blow me away with its impressive blend of cartoony and ultraviolent, and the fact that her established style works quite so well in this tale of violent, profane hired killers continues to amaze me.  She also delivers what is, for me, the single best page of the entire series during the aforementioned showdown between Tricia and Fingerman, capturing motion and impact about as perfectly as you could hope for in a four-panel sequence.

It’s all great stuff, and while this final chapter perhaps doesn’t quite hit the high standard of some of the issues that came before it (although that’s a pretty high bar to get over, let’s be honest), it still provides an enjoyable and thoroughly satisfying conclusion to the story.  As an added bonus, it also leaves things hanging for a potential follow-up somewhere down the line, which I am very much on board with should it ever happen.  Hell, Fuck and Dave clearly deserve their own spin-off series, if nothing else.

At the end of the day, if you’re a fan of either creator’s previous work, you really owe it to yourself to pick this series up.  With a blend of John Woo-esque balletic violence, crass humour and action movie excess, Assassin Nation ticks a hell of a lot of boxes, and does so with style.

Rating: 4/5.

The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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You can follow Ceej on Twitter

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