The Silencer Annual #1 review

The Silencer Annual #1 is, by far, the best DC book that hit stands this week! You need to go get it!

Aside from a few minor missteps, Dan Abnett has had an incredible run on The Silencer! What was probably viewed by many as the least compelling book of The New Age of Heroes imprint prior to its launch, the quality of this book has pushed it to have one of the best reputations, not only within the imprint, but on DC’s roster in general. This issue only drives that conversation further.

One of the best things about this chapter is that you don’t need to have a history with the title to read it. In fact, if you’ve ever considered giving The Silencer a shot but have yet to dip your toes in, I’d recommend starting here. While grounded in the present day, most of the narrative features a flashback to when Talia al Ghul was in the early stages of creating Leviathan. Honor Guest, the Silencer, is currently operating as an assassin under Ra’s al Ghul’s League of Assassins, but is secretly transitioning to become a general for Talia.

After Ra’s learns of Talia’s plan to annex from the League and start her own organization, he starts killing off all of her potential recruits. Talia charges Honor to go to Gotham on a mission. It would seem as though Honor is being sent there to deal with another assassin considering she’s told to lie under Batman’s radar, but that may not be the case. I don’t want to give anything away, but the mission ends up being quite a bit of fun and is filled with undertones of mystery, suspense, and a decent dose of action.

Speaking of action, although it’s not action-heavy, when we do get a brawl, it’s incredibly entertaining! Abnett and Jack Herbert deliver action scenes that are rooted in character and fighting styles, thus creating sequences that feel well-planned, unique, and specifically tailored for that character/ scene. This might seem like an obvious process for writing or drawing fight sequences, but I often read comics where the action feels random. These fights play out more like a brutal dance, and is definitely one of the high-points of the issue.

As with the standard issues, Abnett continues to deliver character driven arcs. A substantial amount of time is spent exploring relationships – Honor with Talia, Honor with Blake, Honor with Batman, and even, to a degree, Talia and Batman despite the fact that the two never actually meet or converse in this chapter. The real gem here is witnessing Honor and Blake’s first encounter! These two have already been established as a relatable couple in monthly issues, so getting this sneak peek into how that met feels special. In fact, at this point, it’s almost as if I’m hearing a friend recall their first date with their husband. It’s a welcomed treat, and an attribute that keeps an epic book about assassins and heroes, grounded.

In addition to all of this, so much of the book takes me back to Grant Morrison’s run. From Talia’s design, to the discussions surrounding the League of Assassins and Leviathan, there’s so much nostalgia of a time when the Bat books were, in my opinion, better. But I also love the lore that’s written about Batman himself. Having never encountered Batman, Silencer delves into his legend, his reality, and her potential challenges. It’s more than just the lore though. Abnett’s script, particularly the way he writes Talia, is outstanding and eloquent. As I hinted previously, there are no interactions between Bruce and Talia, but you don’t need them. Her words, alone, effectively capture how she feels about Bruce – both good and bad.

If there’s one thing the Annual solidifies though, it’s how well Silencer fits into the greater DC universe, and the potential she has as a character. Her history with the League of Assassins naturally gives her a rich background, but also opens her up to a world of characters and stories that are waiting to be told. It’s hard to read this book and not think, “Wow! This really is the beginning of something that should have a long, great run!” And hopefully, if things continue as they are, that is what we’ll get!

The Art: Jack Herbert is on art duties for this issue, and now I want him on a Bat-book like there’s no tomorrow! I know I’ve experienced his work before, but I’ve never taken the time to examine it. Simply put, he’s incredible! Not only is the aesthetic of his pencils great – there’s a beautiful sense of realism to his art – but he’s a great storyteller as well. He frames panels in a way that is interesting, and he draws his characters with subtle tones of emotion, suspense, and mystery. Tack on Hi-Fi’s expertly crafted colors, and you only add to the perfection of this book!

Recommended if:

  •  You’re a fan of Grant Morrison’s Batman run.
  • Batman vs Silencer
  • You want to know how Honor and Blake met.

Overall: I highly recommend you pick up The Silencer Annual #1. Whether you’re a regular reader or new to the title, there’s plenty here for you to enjoy. From Honor’s past with the League, to her transition to Leviathan, an encounter with Batman, and her introduction to Blake, this book is sheer perfection! So, what are you waiting for? Go get this book!

SCORE: 10/10