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The X-Axis by Paul O'Brien (

Elektra: Glimpse and Echo #1

Oddly, this is a mature readers book, despite being not very graphic at all in any department. Perhaps the label's just there to push the book's arthouse credentials. Or maybe the reason will be apparent in future issues.

Anyhow, Scott Morse is writing and painting this series, and it goes without saying that the most immediately noticeable feature is the artwork. Morse's geometric and angular shapes give the book a highly distinctive and stylised look. Everything looks a little flattened, but the 2D figures in their three dimensional settings work surprisingly well.

One of the problems with Elektra as a protagonist is that she's pretty much just a silent weapon for the most part. In the regular series, Greg Rucka is addressing that by shaking up her status quo to dislodge her from the assassin role. This story evidently takes place before that, and Morse takes the other approach - bringing in the Hand, playing off the death of her father, and softening the character a bit. To be honest, Morse's take on the character feels just a bit too normal in comparison with the way she's been written in recent years.

The story sees Elektra being hired, via a Hand ninja who won't stay dead, to carry out a hit on a character we're told nothing about. This brings her into a bar where her father used to drink, and where ten years ago a jazz trumpeter was also killed by the Hand. Quite what that has to do with anything isn't made clear at this stage, so we're really left to take it on trust that all this is going to fit together. The issue would probably have benefitted from a bit more detail on the actual hit, since that's what's supposedly driving the plot. We're left with a first issue that contains a lot of set-up, albeit quite interesting set-up, and a mystery about why the Hand guy won't stay dead.

It's a lovely visual style, though, and the story has possibilities. The take on Elektra's character seems a little too soft for me, but not bad on the whole.

Grade: B+