Writer: Zeb Wells
Pencils: Clay Mann
Inks: Mark Pennington
Colours: Matt Hollingsworth
When Elektra was the first major character to be exposed as a Skrull in the run-up to Secret Invasion she seemed a good choice of character to send to spandex heaven. Take a look at the numerous series Elektra Natchios has starred in, and you’ll notice that none of them have lasted for any length of time; presumably because outside of Frank Miller’s Daredevil saga she’s never been a particularly remarkable character. Naturally, it soon transpired that Elektra and the many others replaced by impostors were all alive and well, and Marvel have used the MU’s currently ambiguous state of affairs to give the crimson assassin yet another shot at a miniseries.
Given the silent nature of his protagonist, Robot Chicken writer Zeb Wells does a good job with this book. Beginning from the perspective of two H.A.M.M.E.R. scientists experimenting on the captive Elektra, we discover that the Skrulls performed far more intrusive tests on her than the other POWs. When the mercenary Paladin breaks into the lab intent on killing her, Elektra uses this opportunity to escape, provoking Osborn to unleash his prize hound Hawkeye/Bullseye; Elektra’s former murderer. Meanwhile, another duo of red-haired hired killers also have Natchios in their crosshairs.
While it is of course necessary to return to Elektra’s time as a Skrull captive, Wells doesn’t let Secret Invasion doesn’t loom over this Dark Reign episode too much. Norman Osborn’s brief appearances throughout dominate the story, and a few cameos (I won’t say who from) dilute Elektra’s value somewhat. But Wells keeps the pace fast and throws enough twists and turns at Nachios – not to mention a downbeat ending that you probably won’t see coming – that it’s easy to overlook. The first chapter in particular sees some neat technical innovations being used in a sadistically inventive fashion, and Clay Mann’s art is excellent throughout – the inventive battle with Hawkeye is a particular treat.
Elektra is definitely one of the better Dark Reign tie-ins. It’s an entirely superfluous part of Marvel’s big 2009 event, but for fans of the character curious to see just what happened to her pre and post-Secret Invasion, Wells and Mann have delivered a taut little adventure.