Review: Elektra #3

STL039922“Are you not entertained?!” is an actual line spoken by the Riddler-esque “master villain” Arcade in this third installment of Elektra. Let that sink in for a moment, we’ve got an unoriginal villain speaking an unoriginal line and that’s one of the most interesting things about this issue.

Writer Matt Owens somehow manages to make his run of Elektra more tragic than the Greek play that the title character gets her name from. The sole black character, a stereotypical ethnic MMA champ gives us another great throwaway line by calling Elektra “Furiosa” and somehow the way the character says it, makes it sound more like an insult than a compliment. The other female character seems utterly useless and spends most of her time crying or forgetting how to hide, which I suppose was Owens’ way of showing us how strong Elektra is by contrast.

We are already three issues into this hot trash fire of a story arc and this solo Elektra series shows no signs of giving our character any dignity, agency, autonomy or actual story. Owens seems content to relegate our hero to a supporting role in her own comic book and by having her stroll around like the Assassin edition of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl he is now having her stay under the thumb of the wackest villain of all time. To recap, Elektra is wearing a barely there outfit and still manages to be the last one standing in the Battle Royal that Arcade set up. The other female on her team was pretty much a trope wrapped in a prop. The other POC dies while quipping. In Elektra’s saddest moments unable to draw strength from her own badassery, she conjures up an image of Daredevil to be her spirit guide to lead her to safety and when it’s all said and done, Arcade informs her as they stand face to face that he’s keeping her because she makes him a lot of money.

Juan Cabal was tasked with illustrating this train wreck and, to his credit there was less male gaze and body hugging in his panels than we saw in the last issue. Antonio Fabela and Jordan Boyd provided the color for this issue and, depending on what was happening it looked like an old 80’s cartoon, Arcade looked like Rainbow Brite’s older brother, with the color scheme to match or like a throwaway episode of Archer. Overall the artwork was cheesy but it matched the ridiculousness of the story being told. There’s a lot of “Stab” and “Splurt” used in the panel, which would be necessary if we didn’t actually see the people being stabbed or the blood spurting out. I can only assume that there was a word count and since there was so little talking or storytelling done with the dialogue, they had to do something to fill in the gaps. There’s also no sense of time change in present vs past or in dream world vs reality in the artwork. It all looks pretty much the same, down to Elektra’s permanently annoyed facial expression.

The cover should let you know everything you need to know about where this story is headed. Arcade stands above Elektra as a puppetmaster, while Elektra sticks her bottom out like a video vixen in a house of mirrors so that the reader can get multiple views of her backside. The cover alone reminds us that this is issue, like the ones that came before it, are not about Elektra, it’s about the men in control of her story. This issue was just as convoluted, Elektra devoid, and uneventful as the two issues that proceeded it. I keep expecting the next issue to be the one where we get a real Elektra comic but, Owens seems incapable of providing one. We get loads of insight into the bad guys and supporting characters, even the mob of people betting on the outcome of the death dome that Elektra is stuck in seem more interesting and better developed than she does. Owens doesn’t know how to write women and his lack of interest in his subject matter shows in his writing and in the world he created for his title character to exist in.

The whole point of this arc seems to be rooted in making Elektra fight for other people but, not to save them, she is not in control of her body or actions and is trapped in a storyline that makes her a slave to others, under the thumb of her male enslaver and at the mercy of a mob who takes delight in using her body as entertainment. It’s lazy storytelling and it’s not even interesting or complex enough to be an actual story. To answer the question posed by Arcade early on in this issue, NO! I am not entertained.

Story: Matt Owens Art: Juan Cabal, Antonio Fabela & Jordan Boyd
Story: 5.4 Art: 7 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Read (if it’s rainy & you’re bored)

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

2 comments

  • Ugh. This issue and series is so disappointing. Conjuring Daredevil has her spirit guide is just insulting to the character herself. Elektra never has to rely on anyone spirit or real and this just weakens her as a character.