Do not mess with Honor Guest or her family… She’ll kill you for doing so.
Last month, we were graced with the debut of The Silencer! I say “graced” because so far, it’s the only title from DC’s New Age of Heroes that’s managed to pack a punch. While the other titles have looked incredible, The Silencer actually delivers a strong script.
Our first venture into the underlife of assassins and Leviathan began quite domesticated. Before Dan Abnett ever introduced us to the ruthless nature that Honor Guest is capable of, we were introduced to her family. Having left the life as an assassin behind her, Honor strictly focuses on her jellybean (her son) and her husband. It’s a brilliant introduction that is not only relatable to many readers, but immediately sets up the stakes that we knew Honor would need to fight for.
The quaint life isn’t long-lasting though, as Talia shows up near the end of the first issue, bringing a mess of drama with her. There’s been an uprising within Leviathan and factions are looking to dethrone Talia as their leader. She’s come to warn Honor of the coup, knowing that her betrayers may not honor the assassins’ code – a code that has allowed Honor to live in peace since leaving the underlife… A world that follows Talia right to Honor’s doorstep. No matter how hard Honor might want to leave her past as an assassin behind her, it doesn’t want to leave her.
The debut concludes with a fight breaking out in Honor’s neighborhood, which is exactly where this issue picks up. Two assassins have come for Talia, and Honor is caught in the crossfire. The fight that ensues is quite entertaining and plays well thanks to John Romita’s art. It’s also a welcomed opportunity to explore Silencer’s abilities – which are simply fantastic and fun, while also giving insight into her codename.
Honor makes quick work of the threats – as expected – but I’d hardly say the encounter is predictable. From here, Honor begins working her way back into the underlife simply for the sake of being able to tell whoever is behind this coup that she’s out, and to leave her out of it. Where the first issue puts a hyper-focus on Honor as a character, connecting her deeply to her family, this issue focuses on the world that is Honor’s former life. And when I say “world,” I mean “world.”
There’s so much world building in this issue that Abnett has created a goldmine of characters and potential plots! Not only do we get to learn some of the ins and outs of how these assassins operate – from actual operators, to clean-up crews, to weapons stations – but we get to meet a number of the characters responsible for these jobs as well. Trust me, you’ll want to see more of each of these characters because they make a lasting impression with hardly any page space to acquire such a reaction. And then on top of everything, there’s the tech. We get to see so much cool, fun, and unique tech that I can’t wait to explore this title further!
If I have one complaint worth bringing up, I’d say it’s consistency. This note mostly comes from a scene involving Honor’s husband that doesn’t appear to flow very well from the first issue to this issue. I’m not certain if it’s a writing mishap, or if it’s foreshadowing that Blake may not be as innocent as we’d like him to be. I hope that’s not the case, but it would definitely make things interesting.
In the end, I don’t think this issue is as strong as it’s debut because this chapter is missing the character beats that made the initial outing so relatable. That being said, this issue delivers some high octane action and a lot of world building that is sure to build and pay off for many issues! Two issues in, and The Silencer continues to be the best book under the New Age of Heroes Brand (but I will openly admit that I haven’t read The Terrifics yet).
The Art: I gave John Romita quite a bit of praise last month, and I’m going to continue that here. While the asthetic of his pencils still aren’t my favorite, I’m less bothered by the look of his art for this book because nothing precedes it. Once Bogdanovic steps in beginning with issue 4, that might change though. For now, my only complaint would be that the villains are over designed, and that they often look too similar (as seen in the final pages of this issue). It’s also worth noting that these assassins don’t resemble anything we ever say in Batman Inc. where Talia and her Leviathan were introduced.
Aside from that minor quip, Romita’s storytelling continues to win me over. He continues to excel in creating character beats through body language, facial expressions, and even clothing! After seeing Honor and Blake appear “quaint” in their dressy-casual look, I was slightly taken back by the youthful look each of them had in a scene together in this issue. Honor’s in a tank with a cap on, and Blake also has a much more youthful look. I initially thought it was an attempt to make the characters “cool,” but then realized it’s completely natural, and yet again, relatable. When I go to work, I wear nice pants/ denim, a dress shirt, sometimes a vest/ jacket, and dress shoes. When I’m off work, I’m typically in destroyed jeans, a comic book themed shirt, perhaps a leather jacket, and converse. Kudos to Romita for capturing this duality that we all present in our everyday life.
I also need to praise Romita’s action scenes. Not only are they fun, but he continues to put so much attention to detail in these moments as well. While I found each bout exciting, I specifically loved a moment where Silencer takes cover behind a car, and begins looking underneath the car for a way to attack her targets – each scene showing her point of view before the shot, while taking the shot, and after the shot. It’s subtle and can be taken for granted quite easily, but adds a nice cinematic quality to the flow of this story. Once again, a critical eye to Romita’s art only serves as a reminder of how wrong I was about his work before.
- You want a high-octane thriller with equally high stakes.
- You prefer stories where the characters are as equally developed as the plot.
- You like stories that can be self-contained as easily as they can be expanded into a greater universe.
Overall: Where a number of the New Age of Heroes titles feel like complete lifts of other comic properties (Damage > Hulk, Sidways > Spiderman/ Nightcrawler, and The Terrifics > The Fantastic Four), The Silencer manages to escape these comparisons. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything to compare this book to, just that it can’t be summed up in one or two comparisons. No, The Silencer feels like a mix of a range of the Bourne series, meets John Wick, meets 007/ Matrix due to the tech that’s introduced, but wrapped in a wonderful female of color whose closest counterpart would have to be Onyx from previous Batman stories… And yet, it still feels fresh and original thanks to the character beats established for Honor Guest. The Silencer is a fun, violent read with emotional stakes and character relatability that deserves your time and attention.