Viktor Bogdanovic joins The Silencer with this issue, and man does his work look good!
Last month, I went on a bit of a rant about how DC is handling their New Age of Heroes imprint, and I think some readers misinterpreted that I was unhappy with The Silencer itself. Let me clarify, that’s not the case. I was upset with how DC marketed the book/ line, as opposed to how they are publishing the book/ line. As for the book itself, I’m a huge fan of The Silencer, and am bothered by DC’s execution because I like the book. But I promise you, I’m a fan of both The Silencer and the New Age of Heroes imprint, despite some marketing decisions that I think tarnish the brand’s overall image and longevity.
But back to this issue! When The Silencer #3 ended, we discovered that Deathstroke was aware of Honor’s return as Silencer. I’ll admit, I wasn’t super enthusiastic to witness Deathstroke’s inclusion into the story. It’s not that I don’t want Deathstroke and Silencer to cross paths, I just felt that we needed to spend more time focusing on Honor, her family, and the war with Leviathan before shoe-horning in a popular DC character to boost sales… Because that’s honestly all it felt like – a marketing gimmick to drive sales.
Well, guess what? I have to eat crow. I was wrong, and I have no problem admitting it! In fact, I’m happy to say I was wrong! As you can tell by the cover, Deathstroke is in this issue, and I’ll go ahead and reveal that he is heavily featured… but there’s way more here than just a marketing gimmick. Deathstroke’s inclusion has purpose. And not only that, it appears as though he will actually be the catalyst that leads Honor to the moment where we saw her in the first few pages of The Silencer #1.
Large portions of this chapter are flashbacks. Abnett provides a deeper look into Honor’s time with Leviathan, and specifically her relationship with Talia. We already know that Honor left the underworld behind – with Talia’s blessing – to pursue a normal life. What we don’t necessarily know is what was required of her before she could embark on a life full of domestic pleasures… That’s what the flashback showcases in this chapter – Silencer’s final mission with Leviathan. I’m going to be honest, the revelation of Honor’s actions makes her a little unlikeable. We get to see how ruthless she can be, and it actually made me feel bad for her target. This isn’t a complaint, because I fully understand Honor’s stance, and I genuinely feel the book wanted us to experience these emotions of displeasure and understanding. The beats just add to the complexity of these characters, which is one of the main reasons I’m drawn to this story.
As expected, this issue gives us a confrontation between Silencer and Deathstroke. Their encounter is also a flashback, but I promise it’s connected to everything in the story. Deathstroke’s involvement has direct ties to Silencer’s final mission, but also foreshadows Honor’s current situation – or so it would seem. What I thought would be a low note – Deathstroke’s inclusion – is actually a huge strength for the book. Not only are we treated to an awesome battle, but Slade’s role helps ground Silencer as a fringe character in the DC Universe. I’m not going to reveal too much in this portion of my review, but know that you’re in for a real treat.
The only complaint that I can think of people presenting for this chapter, would be that there’s not much plot progression for the present day. Where we left off at the end of The Silencer #3, is essentially where we wrap this chapter. That’s not to say that this issue is a waste. Quite the opposite. Where this turn doesn’t invest in plot progression, it does invest in characterization – something I mentioned was lacking from last month’s release. Nearly every scene in the present day is spent building or expanding relationships. Whether it’s with her family, or old contacts from the underworld, The Silencer #4 plants deeper roots by investing in it’s supporting cast; a decision that I’m certain will pay off in the future!
The Art: I’m a huge fan of Viktor Bogdanovic, so I was extremely excited when he was announced to take over The Silencer. Aesthetically, I prefer his work to John Romita Jr’s, but I do think he lacks a little when it comes to his ability to tell a story artistically. But seriously, it’s the smallest of small step downs in quality concerning that specific technique. Overall, I think Bogdanovic creates a slick, more reader-friendly appearance for The Silencer, and I can’t help but think that the book would have possibly been better off had he just debuted with the title.
As for the look itself, I’m happy to see that Silencer no longer looks like a female Michelin Man with a gun. Her armor is more realistic, and there’s a smoother flow with the art considering the blocky nature of Romita’s pencils are gone. I also found the colors by Mike Spicer to be much richer, allowing the book to carry a more entertaining and engaging vibe. Across the board, the art is a success!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Honor. The anchor for this book continues to be Honor. Not only is she the perfect depiction of the diversity entertainment needs, but she does so without trying too hard to do that. She’s a strong, female character of color that endures adversity by simply being and overcoming it. There’s no heavy-handed dialogue to point out she’s a woman or of color, she just shrugs off whatever challenges her, then overcomes it with complete confidence. She’s an assassin, a mother, a wife, a friend, a business woman, and much more… She’s relatable in some aspects, and completely fantastical in others. DC should feel happy and honored to have a character such as this in their arsenal now.
Domesticated. One of the greatest joys of The Silencer, is reading scenes between Honor and her family. If you’re an adult that’s in a relationship or has children, then I promise you that you’ll read these scenes and smile or chuckle because you’ve been there. Honor’s home life is so realistic and grounded that it’s made The Silencer one of the most engaging titles to come from the New Age of Heroes line. There’s one scene in particular in this issue where Honor’s husband defends her as a working woman to a neighbor with an old school thought process on what a woman’s role should be in a family. It’s not preachy, but it gets the point across, and does so quite well!
Parallels. The parallels between Silencer’s final mission with Leviathan and her current situation with Leviathan’s internal war feels too similar to be comfortable. If it wasn’t clear that ulterior motives brought Honor back into the world she left behind, then this issue all but solidifies the notion. At this point, I’m pretty sure Talia sent assassins after Honor forcing her to get involved with the war. I doubt Talia ever had the intention of letting Silencer go for good, much in the way she had no plans of letting the accountant go from the flashback.
Blurred Lines. The relationships are really interesting because it’s hard to know where people’s loyalties lie. In fact, it’s the fact that there aren’t loyalties that keeps you on your toes. You never know if a character is a friend or foe, what their agenda is, and who is a target simply for the sake of self-preservation. A prime example of this is Aftermarket. He appears to be on Honor’s side because he’s helping her, but he really just wants things to return to how they were under Talia’s control because there was some sense of order then… But we don’t really know what Talia’s role actually is in all of this…
Deathstroke. We get to see a brawl between Silencer and Deathstroke, with the tease of more in the future… Do I really need to elaborate?
Plot Progression. For me, this isn’t a negative, but I can imagine some people complaining about a lack of plot progression in this issue. The entire issue is focused on character development and providing a stronger narrative foundation through flashbacks. So, while the story doesn’t progress much, it does help ensure a stronger payoff in the future.
- Silencer vs Deathstroke.
- You want complex characters.
- You enjoy suspense thrillers.
Overall: The Silencer #4 is another excellent chapter in a book that continues to grow in both quality and potential! I’m a huge fan of Honor as a character. I love her family, and I’m growing more fond of the supporting characters from the underworld! Deathstroke’s inclusion only helps ground this series in the DC Universe while teasing some epic moments in the future! There’s not much in the way of plot progression here, but Dan Abnett more than makes up for it with an incredible flashback sequence and strong character development. Throw in the debut of Viktor Bogdanovic on art, and you’re left with a stellar product!